Is Investing in Chick-fil-A Stock a Finger Lickin’ Good Opportunity?

Chick Fil A Stock, home of the original chicken sandwich, has achieved remarkable success with over $16 billion in sales and explosive growth year after year. As America’s favorite fast food chain for 7 years running, Chick-fil-A has cultivated an almost cult-like following.

With strong financials and devoted brand loyalty, Chick-fil-A stock seems like a compelling investment opportunity. However, since Chick-fil-A is a private company, its shares are not publicly traded on any stock exchange.

Chick Fil A Stock

While you can’t directly invest in Chick-fil-A stock, understanding the company’s past and future prospects can inform smart investment decisions. This article reviews Chick-fil-A’s origins, business model, financial performance, and growth strategies to evaluate whether it has the potential to be a sound stock investment if it ever goes public.

Chick-fil-A’s Humble Beginnings

The first Chick-fil-A opened in 1967 in Atlanta, Georgia by founder Truett Cathy. After growing up poor during the Great Depression, Cathy decided to start his own restaurant business selling high-quality chicken sandwiches at an affordable price.

Cathy put customer service at the forefront, training employees to be courteous and quick. Every team member was taught to say “my pleasure” rather than “you’re welcome” to convey genuine hospitality.

This focus on customer experience paired with delicious food quickly led to success. By the mid-1970s, Cathy had expanded to over 50 locations across the Southeast.

Today, Chick-fil-A is the 5th largest U.S. restaurant chain with over $16 billion in sales across 2,600 locations. Not bad for a humble chicken sandwich shop!

The Secret Behind Chick-fil-A’s Winning Business Model

So how did this regional chicken chain become an international fast food powerhouse? Chick-fil-A’s business model has a few key components:

Lean Franchise Model

Unlike other chains, Chick-fil-A utilizes a lean franchise model with hands-on operator involvement. Franchisees are only allowed to own one local restaurant rather than building an empire of locations.

This ensures active management, quality control, and personal customer service at the individual restaurant level. Operators focus on their single location rather than managing from afar.

Meticulous Employee Training

Chick-fil-A invests significantly in employee training programs to create cheerful customer experiences. Team members provide fast, accurate service with smiles on their faces. This consistency builds trust and loyalty with patrons.

Strict Quality Control

All Chick-fil-A restaurants serve the exact same recipes to rigorous specifications. Customers can expect consistency no matter what location they visit.

This operational excellence is why Chick-fil-A tops customer service rankings year after year.

Why Chick-fil-A Stock Could Be a Strong Investment

Given Chick-fil-A’s winning strategy centered around quality and hospitality, the company has posted incredible growth:

  • Over the past 10 years, sales have tripled from $5 billion to over $16 billion
  • Chick-fil-A opens over 100 new locations every year
  • Systemwide sales per restaurant average $8.1 million, more than double the US QSR average

This breakneck growth shows no signs of slowing. Chick-fil-A is on track to become the 3rd largest restaurant chain behind McDonald’s and Starbucks.

If Chick-fil-A ever went public, analysts project its stock price could be in the $60 – $75 range. For context, restaurant leader McDonald’s (MCD) trades around $270 per share.

Of course, past performance does not guarantee future success. But Chick-fil-A’s loyal customers, efficient operations, and ambition to expand give it strong potential.

Risk Factors to Consider

Despite bullish indicators, Chick-fil-A faces risks that could affect its stock value:

Increasing Competition

The fast food industry grows more crowded by the day. Chains like Shake Shack and Wendy’s have rolled out fried chicken sandwiches to rival Chick-fil-A’s trademark offering. If the competition erodes market share, growth and profits could stall.


As a vocal Christian brand, Chick-fil-A has faced backlash over donations and political commentary. These controversies could hamper expansion into more liberal markets. However, the chain continues gaining ground in blue states, suggesting minimal long-term damage thus far.

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Supply Chain Disruptions

Like all restaurants, Chick-fil-A depends on smooth supply chains for ingredients and materials. Pandemic-related disruptions have increased expenses, causing slight menu price increases. Any sustained supply/cost issues could eat into margins.

On balance, Chick-fil-A appears well-positioned for continued success. The risk factors seem unlikely to severely undermine performance given the brand’s devoted fans.

Why Chick-fil-A Remains a Private Company

Founder Truett Cathy built his fast food empire upon Christian values and purpose beyond profits. Staying private allows Chick-fil-A to uphold these principles rather than bowing to shareholder pressure.

Cathy also feared that new stockholders would force Chick-fil-A restaurants to operate on Sundays against his faith. By not going public, the company can stick to its convictions.

After Cathy passed, his family inherited ownership with his sons Dan and Bubba continuing to run operations. Rather than cashing out via an IPO windfall, they remain committed to their father’s legacy.

The Cathy family has no plans to take Chick-fil-A public. But if that ever changed decades down the road, investors would likely flock to buy shares.

Can You Still Invest in Chick-fil-A’s Success?

Since you can’t directly buy stock, is there another way to invest in Chick-fil-A? The best available option is to become a franchise owner.

The upfront franchise fee is only $10,000 compared to competitors charging over $40K. Chick-fil-A covers all real estate costs and takes a modest 15% cut while letting owners take home the rest.

For hands-on entrepreneurs, running a Chick-fil-A franchise offers a great opportunity to buy into their successful business model. Just don’t expect to get rich quick – operators work long hours serving up tasty chicken 7 days a week.

Key Takeaways on Chick-fil-A Stock

  • Chick-fil-A is a fast food juggernaut posting extremely strong growth in sales and locations
  • Its focus on quality, hospitality, and franchising makes it a potential stock market darling
  • However, since Chick-fil-A is privately owned, its shares do not trade on any public exchange
  • Becoming a franchise operator represents the best way to invest in Chick-fil-A’s ongoing prosperity

Chick-fil-A lacks a ticker symbol for now. But its finger lickin’ financials would tempt plenty of investors if it ever goes public. For the foreseeable future, Chick-fil-A seems likely to remain private – after all, closed on Sundays.

Author: Dominic Walsh

I am a highly regarded trader, author & coach with over 16 years of experience trading financial markets. Today I am recognized by many as a forex strategy developer. After starting blogging in 2014, I became one of the world's most widely followed forex trading coaches, with a monthly readership of more than 40,000 traders! Make sure to follow me on social media: Instagram | Facebook | Youtube| Twitter | Pinterest | Medium | Quora | Reddit | Telegram Channel

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