- Chick-fil-A is opening its first international restaurants next year, in Toronto, the company told Business Insider.
- The fast-food chain plans to open at least 15 restaurants in the Toronto area within the next five years.
- “Based on the momentum we have had in the US, especially in urban markets like New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, we feel that now is the time to take the next step. Toronto is the next step,” Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Tim Tassopoulos said.
- If the Toronto locations are successful, Chick-fil-A will consider further expansion to other major cities globally, as well as other Canadian cities such as Vancouver.
Chick-fil-A is going global.
After more than 50 years of operating in the United States, the fast-food chain announced on Wednesday that it’s embarking on its first international expansion and bringing its fried chicken to Toronto.
Chick-fil-A is planning to open at least 15 restaurants in the Toronto area over the next five years, with the first three locations opening next year, Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Tim Tassopoulos told Business Insider.
The Toronto restaurants will be Chick-fil-A’s first franchisee-owned units located outside the US. The international push comes on the heels of a multi-year domestic expansion in which the Atlanta-based company entered a number of new US markets, including New York and Chicago.
“We had been considering international expansion for a while,” Tassopoulos said in a phone interview. “Based on the momentum we have had in the US, especially in urban markets like New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, we feel that now is the time to take the next step. Toronto is the next step.”
Over the last several years, Chick-fil-A’s sales have explodedfrom $US6.8 billion in 2015 to more than $US9 billion in 2017, marking 50 consecutive years of sales growth, according to the company.
If the Toronto locations are successful, Chick-fil-A will consider further expansion to other major cities globally, as well as other Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Tassopoulos said. He cited Toronto’s diversity and vibrant restaurant culture as reasons why Chick-fil-A chose the city as its international launching pad.
Chick-fil-A plans to offer Canadian customers the same menu that’s offered in the US, but will source many of the ingredients, such as the chicken, locally.
The company said that it is still in the process of recruiting franchisees to run the Toronto restaurants, which will include both urban and suburban locations. Chick-fil-A will charge franchisees just 15,000 Canadian dollars – or about $US11,400 US – to open a new restaurant.
That’s significantly cheaper than most major fast-food chains.
McDonald’s, for example, requires potential franchisees to pay between $US1 million and $US2.2 million in startup costs – including a $US45,000 franchise fee. Taco Bell’s startup costs average $US1.2 million to $US2.6 million.
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