CHURCH’S CHICKEN: Thriving in Hard Times

Not every franchise chain is suffering in the recession. In fact, those who are positioned to meet the needs of the increasingly budget-conscious consumer are thriving.

Church’s Chicken is one whose “value leader” positioning makes it well-suited for the harder times to come. The Atlanta-based restaurant chain, which has 1,625 stores, posted both overall and same-store sales increases in 2008, and is projecting continued sales growth in 2009.

According to figures released by the company Friday, total global sales at Church’s restaurants rose 5 percent to $1.15 billion, marking the the fifth straight year of system-wide sales increases. Same-store sales at existing stores rose 2.7 percent —- up 3 percent at U.S. restaurants and 2.1 percent at international outlets.

Farnaz Wallace, Church’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, attibutes its success to Church’s strategy of catering to a low-income, multicultural customers.

Church’s maintains a “no-frills” positioning of fried chicken at a low price. Church’s recently launched out a 99-cent value menu that includes a chicken sandwich, nuggets, fries, jalapeno cheese bombers, and a piece of dark chicken and a biscuit.

Church’s anticipates same-store sales to rise 2.5 percent to 3 percent in 2009.

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