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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.

  1. http://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/qsr50-2015-top-50-chart?sort=2014_sales&dir=desc ↩︎

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