Chick-fil-A is dominating fast food.
The company generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain in the US, and it’s only open six days a week.
Chick-fil-A’s average sales per restaurant in 2016 were $US4.4 million, according to a new report from QSR magazine.. Its fried-chicken competitor KFC sold $US1.1 million per restaurant that year.
Whataburger ranked a distant second to Chick-fil-A with $US2.7 million in per-restaurant sales, followed by Panera and Jason’s Deli.
Despite its relatively small size, Chick-fil-A also ranks highly in terms of its total sales.
The chain generated nearly $US8 billion in revenue in 2016, making it the eighth-largest fast-food chain in the US, according to QSR.
Chick-fil-A has only 2,100 restaurants, and none of its restaurants are open on Sundays. For comparison, McDonald’s has more than 14,100 locations in the US, Taco Bell has nearly 6,300, and KFC has more than 4,160 — most of which are open seven days a week.
Yet, Chick-fil-A generates more annual revenue than dozens of other chains that have more than twice as many US locations, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Arby’s.
So what is the secret to Chick-fil-A’s success?
Beyond the food, which gets high ratings from customers, many analysts point to Chick-fil-A’s exceptional service.
The chain consistently ranks first in restaurant customer-service surveys. In reviews, customers rave about the restaurants’ cleanliness, quick, convenient service, and hardworking employees.
Highly regarded customer service is uncommon in fast food — an industry notorious for paying low wages.
But it appears that Chick-fil-A doesn’t pay much more than the industry average. Chick-fil-A pays about $US8.51 an hour, according to Glassdoor. The average hourly wage in the fast-food industry is $US8.28, according to PayScale.
Chick-fil-A says its service is so consistent because it invests more than other companies in training its employees and helping them advance their careers — regardless of whether those careers are in fast food.
Franchisees are encouraged to ask their new hires what their career goals are and then to try to help them achieve those goals.
For example, franchisees at a convention in Florida last year were asked: “Do you know the dreams of your team?”
For Kevin Moss, a Chick-fil-A manager of 20 years, supporting his team has meant funding an employee’s marketing degree and paying for another worker to take photography classes.
Moss told Business Insider that he also tries to support his employees in times of need. For example, if an employee’s family member is in the hospital, he will send food to the family and hospital staff.
“I’ve found people are more motivated and respond better when you care about them,” Moss said.
The company also offers leadership positions in all of its restaurants that come with higher pay as well as greater responsibilities. Crew members can work their way toward “director” positions in marketing, cleanliness, kitchen operations, and drive-thru operations.
Many franchisees, including Moss, will additionally offer training classes for their employees to earn certificates in managing food and labour costs, managing conflict in restaurants, and other areas of expertise.
“The better we train, the longer people stay with us,” Moss said.
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