2021 Conversation Tour Unveils Multi-Year Plan to Make Church’s Chicken Category Leader



Brand to Build on Successes in Multiple Business Areas to Continue Rapid Growth and Expansion

2021 Conversation Tour Unveils Multi-Year Plan to Make Church's Chicken Category LeaderSince 2019, Church’s Chicken has steadily worked through a five-year strategic plan to substantially grow its global market preference and establish a broad base of loyal guests. During that time, same store sales and overall profitability increased consecutively, generating hefty revenue for franchisees. This year alone, dozens of new restaurants opened in the United States and existing foreign markets. In Southeast Asia and the Middle East, all-new markets like Cambodia and Qatar, were opened successfully.

The company continued to enhance its marketing strategy to optimize digital platforms and gained market share, while also saving on annual advertising and media spending. And restaurant teams were re-energized with new designs for restaurants and uniforms, the launch of the brand’s signature Church’s Chicken Sandwich, new restaurant menu boards, training modules, and a new cloud-based POS system.

Going forward, Church’s is focusing on becoming the dominant player in the quick-service chicken category, with a series of goals announced during the 2021 Conversation Tour, December 7th and 8th. United by the theme “The Path Ahead,” this year’s tour outlined the steps Church’s will take to build on its previous wins.

“Our progress has lived up to our vision,” shared Joe Christina, Chief Executive Officer for the brand. “We not only reached our many milestones, we did so at a time when many restaurants were struggling to simply stay afloat. This proves we are ready to push ahead with even bigger initiatives, knowing that we have laid the groundwork for what promises be some of our most dynamic and successful years.”

Christina’s top priorities for 2022 are strengthening the supply chain to further support expansion, using predictive guest data to create more personalized brand interactions, optimizing speed of service while maintaining peak quality and freshness, streamlining back-of-house operations to improve employee satisfaction and retention, and utilizing technology to deliver profit-building insights for franchisees. As well, the brand is also proceeding with a major restaurant re-imaging program to entice new and existing guests alike. “We’re going to be busy in these next few years,” Christina said, “but I am confident that our focus on building profitable sales and traffic, along with working together with our franchisees will position the brand for success.”

New Restaurant Design

The next step in Church’s brand upgrade began in 2019 with new menu boards, uniforms, packaging, and digital presence. The new Blaze Restaurant Design celebrates the brand’s rich 70-year heritage as the home of Bold, Texas-inspired flavors and authentic hospitality. Key elements of the new design include “Jal” a chicken icon named for the brand’s signature jalapeño pepper, and a Texas lone star reflective of the brand’s original roots in San Antonio. In restaurants, striking murals reflect Texas heritage, and typography statements share the brand’s promise to bring bold, quality, Texas-style flavor to every experience. As well as new pendant lighting, new wood-top tables and seating options, new window merchandising, and updated signage all add further brand character to the Blaze package.

Guests have responded well to the Blaze upgrade. For six restaurants located throughout Louisiana and in Birmingham, Alabama, comparable sales after restaurants re-opened with the new look have been up by an average of nearly 25%. One Church’s restaurant in Marrero, LA has seen an over 50% boost in sales since adopting the Blaze design.

“It’s time to put Church’s on the map as “The Great State of Flavor” and embody the spirit of the brand in all we do and with every guest interaction,” shared Christina. “As always, we will be remaining true to our roots and our heritage, but we will be expressing it in ways that are fresh, relevant, and geared towards the way our guests live, work, and play.”

Already in place as part of new restaurant openings, the Church’s team will be working with Church’s Independent Franchise Association and franchisees to retrofit existing restaurants with the exciting new concept as part of franchise renewals. All new restaurant openings going forward will utilize the Blaze image. “Our aim is to create a cohesive guest experience no matter how our guests interact with Church’s,” added Christina. “The Blaze design is more than just an updated aesthetic. It is literally the future of how quick service restaurants will look, feel, and operate if they want to stay competitive.”

Technology Advancements

Beyond the Blaze redesign, Church’s is also continuing to strengthen its internal network, most notably in terms of technology tools for collecting real-time transactional data, robust back-office reporting to improve operating margins, and a unified POS system that automatically integrates digital marketing efforts and off-premise opportunities to drive transactional growth and deliver a streamlined business flow.

“Operational simplicity is the secret to operational excellence,” Christina explained. “Now, more than ever, we need to be adaptable and nimble in meeting our guests where they are. The synergies provided by a unified technology infrastructure means that the Church’s experience is consistent for guests anywhere, everywhere, and every way they visit.” Mobile orders are just as connected to marketing efforts as those placed in person for drive-thru or dine-in. Real-time sales figures give restaurants and corporate teams the ability to manage inventory to extend fan favorites, enable loyalty programs, and much more.

“Our progression over the past few years has set the stage for where we are today – a brand positioned to stand apart in the category, designed for today’s consumer.  We can now springboard toward the next phase to fully leverage all the technological and physical improvements we’re making,” said Brian Gies, Global Chief Marketing Officer.  “By predicting trends instead of simply reacting to them, we not only create a better and more meaningful experience for guests, but we also empower franchisees and restaurant teams to work efficiently and profitably – and that benefits everyone.”

Founded in San Antonio, Texas, in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken is one of the largest quick-service restaurant chicken chains in the world. Church’s specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Chicken Sandwich, Texas Tenders, Honey-Butter Biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, homestyle sides all for a great value. Church’s (along with its sister brand Texas Chicken outside the Americas) has more than 1,500 locations in 25 countries and international territories. During two national media windows, the brand drove sales performance that outpaced the broader QSR category. For more information, visit www.churchs.com.