Atlanta--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Despite the struggling economy, Chick-fil-A® enjoyed an unprecedented year of sales growth in 2008. The Atlanta-based restaurant chain today reported 2008 system-wide sales of $2,962,253,976, representing a 12.17 percent increase over the chain's 2007 overall sales performance and a strong same-store sales increase of 4.59 percent.
Chick-fil-A's record sales performance marked the chain's 41st consecutive year of system-wide sales gains – a streak that the chain has sustained since its inception in 1967 – and its 16th straight year of double-digit sales growth.
"Of all of our years of sales growth, we are truly grateful for our customers' support as reflected in our 2008 sales. Chick-fil-A was able to endure a number of challenges that could have been detrimental to any other chain, including targeted product competition among our quick-service rivals and a challenging economic environment, but our restaurant Operators and team members remained committed to excellence which resulted in another solid sales year," said Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Dan T. Cathy. "While we by no means are immune to the economic challenges our country is facing, we do believe we will continue to remain healthy as long as we stay committed to the qualities that have shaped the Chick-fil-A brand thus far: providing exceptional customer service and unmatched product quality to every customer on every visit. God has truly blessed our business and we pray that He will continue to keep His hand upon us."
The chain's 2008 sales performance complemented a number of business highlights, including:
Philanthropy also continued to be a major focus in 2008 for the entire chain, a tradition set by its 87-year-old Founder and CEO S. Truett Cathy. Truett Cathy received the President's Call to Service Award for lifetime volunteer service achievement in 2008 and became the first recipient to receive the award in the Oval Office. Other significant charitable endowments for the chain included continued support for WinShape® Foundation, a non-profit organization and charitable foundation established by the Cathy Family, and the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl™, which led all college football bowl games by contributing more than $1.2 million to charities and scholarships. Chick-fil-A also celebrated the 35th anniversary of its Leadership Scholarship Program by donating more than $1.4 million in college scholarships to its restaurant team members in 2008, and will exceed the $25 million mark in total scholarships later this year.
Dan Cathy also noted that restaurant growth will continue to be an integral factor in sustaining sales momentum this year. Chick-fil-A will continue its steady restaurant growth with 76 new locations planned for 2009, including 64 stand-alone restaurants, two mall/retail locations and 10 licensed outlets. Additionally, the chain feels it also is critical to reinvest in some of its existing restaurant sites. The chain will renovate 65 restaurants throughout the year in a reinvestment effort to extend the life cycle of each location and introduce new efficiencies that will help Chick-fil-A's franchise Operators attract and accommodate greater sales volumes.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is the nation's second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain (based on sales), with more than 1,425 restaurants in 38 states and Washington D.C. Credited with inventing the boneless breast of chicken sandwich and first introducing the chicken nugget concept, Chick-fil-A serves nutritious and freshly prepared food products in mall locations, stand-alone restaurants, drive-thru-only restaurants, Chick-fil-A Dwarf House® and Truett's Grill® full-service restaurants, and through licensed outlets in college campuses, hospitals, airports, businesses and industrial sites.