Despite heavy criticism from activists, fast food chain Chick-fil-A is projected to become the third largest restaurant chain in the U.S., according to research from Kalinowski Equity Research.
The fast food chicken chain will rise from its number seven spot to rank as the third largest U.S restaurant chain by 2018’s close, according to the group‘s research, Business Insider reported Monday.
“We have long pointed out that Chick-fil-A is the restaurant competitor with which McDonald’s … should most concern itself — and by extension, investors should, too,” analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in his report, according to Business Insider.
“But this goes beyond McDonald’s,” Kalinowski noted, MarketWatch reported.
Kalinowski previously predicted the chain would assume the third place spot in sales by 2020, but changed his forecast in April to 2019, Business Insider reported.
According to Kalinowski’s analysis, Chick-fil-A’s sales will have risen between 12 and 15 percent by the end of 2018, amounting to a more than $1 billion increase in sales in 2018, according to Business Insider.
Chick-fil-A sales increased by 14.2 percent in 2017, Restaurant Business reported Dec. 12.
McDonald’s and Starbucks claim the number one and two spots for restaurant chain sales in the U.S., respectively. Subway ranks third followed by Taco Bell, Burger King and Wendy’s, according to Business Insider.
“If this plays out this way, Chick-fil-A’s 2018 U.S. systemwide sales would easily surpass those of Burger King and Wendy’s,” Kalinowski wrote in his report, according to MarketWatch.
The chain has faced a number of hurdles largely related to its religious affiliation and historical position on gay marriage.
Rider University refused to bring Chick-fil-A to its campus despite being students’ number one choice, citing unprogressive “corporate values.” Other groups, including the Pittsburgh school board, have boycotted the chain for what they allege are its “hateful beliefs.”
Despite criticisms, Chick-fil-A ranked for the third consecutive year as the number one fast food restaurant in customer service in July.
Popeyes fried chicken chain is offering travelers passing through Terminal C of Philadelphia International Airport “emotional support chicken,” to help them deal with holiday stress, USA Today reported. “We know holiday travel can be frustrating, and there’s no better way to ease stress than with a box of delicious Popeyes fried chicken and a good laugh,” said chief marketing officer Popeyes Hope Diaz.
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