Which fast-food chain makes more per restaurant than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway Combined?

Francis Lanzano Contributor
Which fast-food chain makes more per restaurant than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway Combined?

Answer: Chick-Fil-A makes more money per restaurant than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway Combined

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According to the 2018 QSR Magazine Report, which highlights sales numbers from the previous year, there were three fast-food franchises that dominated the United States in terms of overall sales. Unsurprisingly those were McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway. Respectively each one brought in $37,480,670,000, $13,167,610,000, and $10,800,000,000 in sales in 2018. None of these figures should come as too much of a surprise given how you’re likely to pass at least one of them on your way to work every day. They are American icons that dominate the fast food landscape because of their marketing budget, branding, and number of locations.

With that said, if we take a closer look at that last qualification, the number of locations, an interesting trend emerges. According to Statista, there are over 14,100 Mcdonald’s, 14,000 Starbucks, and 26,000 Subway restaurants in the United States. The eight-ranked fast-food franchise in terms of gross-sales, Chick-fil-A, only operates 2,225 restaurants in the U.S. but here’s the thing: Chick-fil-A brought in over $9 billion dollars last year. If you divide total sales by number of locations, that means that each Chick-fil-A restaurant earns more per store than any other restaurant, and in fact, per store, it earns more than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway combined. According to Entrepreneur, “the average Chick-fil-A unit made around $4,090,900 in 2017. By contrast, the total sales for a McDonald’s ($2,670,320 per unit), Starbucks ($945,270) and Subway ($416,860) is $4,032,450.” Not to bad for a store that’s only open six days a week.

A Chick-fil-A in the food court of The Galleria in Uptown Houston, Texas

One would think that closing the doors to a restaurant might actually hurt its ability to generate a profit, but Chick-fil-A bucks that trend. Sometimes “closing creates craving” as Entrepreneur points out, and in fact, it plays into the company’s culture and actually helps them prevent turnover. Employees who apply for a job at Chick-fil-A know that they will always be able to attend church or watch their favorite NFL team play on Sunday because they don’t have to work. Whether it’s the food, the marketing, the company culture, or the mandatory day of rest, the recipe seems to working for the company that has cows telling you to eat more chicken. As referenced in the chart below, it looks like Chick-Fil-A also beats McDonald’s in terms of how long the drive-through takes as well. Rest assured, the Golden Arches are taking note.

Infographic: America’s Fastest Drive-Thrus | Statista

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