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Chick-fil-A and The Fried Chicken Fanatics

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People love fried chicken. We don’t need to look at our data to understand that. In the fast food world, a certain fried chicken restaurant is dominating the competition: Chick-fil-A. A recent QSR report shows that Chick-fil-A generated 3x more revenue per location than KFC and over $1B more in total sales with less than half the number of stores.1 And by the way, did you know that they’re closed on Sundays?

We dug into our data to find out how Chick-fil-A is dominating the fried chicken scene. Who are Chick-fil-A’s customers and how do they differ from KFC’s customers? It turns out there is a cohort supporting the majority of Chick-fil-A’s business: the fried chicken fanatics.

It makes sense that a Chick-fil-A location brings in more revenue than a KFC location: the average customer eats Chick-fil-A 5x a year while the KFC customer base only averages 3 visits a year. Though Chick-fil-A has a higher overall repeat customer rate than its competitor, the real difference makers are the Chick-fil-A “fanatics” (a cohort defined as dining at least 1x per month.) These are the “frequent fliers” (pun intended) in the fried chicken world; they represent the biggest spenders and most frequent eaters. Fanatics account for 11% of Chick-fil-A customers and a staggering 48% of Chick-fil-A’s business. On the other hand, KFC fanatics represent just 3% of their customer base and 16% of their business. Interestingly though, KFC's fanatics are a more passionate group, spending more than 5.7x the average customer while Chick-fil-A's fanatics "only" spend 4.6x the average.

Chick-fil-A’s following is a huge reason they are generating more revenue than the competition. KFC and other fast food brands already have the infrastructure in place to beat out Chick-fil-A, with more than 2x the number of locations, most of which are open everyday. Converting occasional customers into spendy fanatics (as opposed to relying on menu gimmicks) is probably a good place to focus.

Behind the Data: We analyzed data from panelists who have made purchases at Chick-fil-A and KFC over the last 365 days. We then bucketed customers by their number of visits to each restaurant to analyze spending behavior.

Learn more about consumer spending analytics with TXN.