Chick-Fill-A is a fast-food restaurant chain popular in the US for its chicken sandwiches. Being one of many fast-food providers, it faces great competition. However, its friendly atmosphere and excellent customer service secured a dominant position in the US market. Despite that, the brand is known for its controversial stance on LGBTQ people’s rights, preventing a successful international expansion. Perhaps, if the company decided to abandon its support for religious views, it would not fail to conquer the European fast-food market.
The main challenge that Chick-Fill-A faces at home and abroad is competition. Being a fast-food restaurant chain in a saturated market, the company has to compete with an abundant variety of restaurants and market leaders such as McDonald’s. Especially with an evident decline in demand for fast-food, related to healthier tendencies among consumers, many fast-food chains were forced to file bankruptcy (Guillotin, 2020). Additionally, fast-food chain giants like McDonald’s and KFC aggravate the market situation for smaller restaurants. Due to their popularity and international expansion, McDonald’s and KFC can invest much of their budget into technology, improving customer experience (Guillotin, 2020). However, despite these market difficulties, Chick-Fill-A secured a dominant and profitable position in the US market for chicken sandwiches.
Chick-Fil-A’s greatest opportunity is the publicity through controversial statements. The company is famous for being associated with religious views, supporting the biblical definition of marriage. The Chick-Fill-A Foundation is known for donating millions to anti-LGBTQ organizations for years (Guillotin, 2020). However, despite the LGBTQ representative’s criticism, Chick-Fill-A sales have continued to grow. Infamous marketing strategies are known to attract more brand’s attention and customers, but the restaurant continues to be successful not only due to this. Chick-Fill-A is generally considered politer and friendlier to its customers. Additionally, it has been repeatedly listed among the 100 best places to work (Guillotin, 2020). As such, using the controversy around the company’s stance, together with sustaining a friendly atmosphere in its restaurants, Chick-Fill-A’s popularity has grown across the US.
The Chick-Fill-A new internationalization strategy may not prove successful in European countries. Recently, Chick-Fill-A fast-food restaurant chain launched an international expansion in Canada and England. Both of these countries are known to be more LGBTQ-friendly than the US. Due to this, the restaurant’s openings were met with protests. These protests resulted in the store’s closing after only six months in England. However, in Canada, the protestors were outnumbered by the supporters of the fast-food chain. Previously, the restaurant’s strategy to expand beyond US borders in the 90s was unsuccessful. As such, the success of the current expansion is questionable. With the company’s controversial stance, it might face greater challenges attempting to conquer the European market. Nevertheless, it can have a chance in Asian, South-American, and Eastern European markets, where their religious stance would not meet much opposition.
The immediate failure of expansion in England has raised many questions and concerns about the company’s future internationalization strategies. The reason for the unsuccessful attempt to open the chain in England was the company’s controversial stance on LGBTQ people’s rights. As such, eliminating the company’s involvement in politics and making a formal apology could ensure the cessation of protests that prevent the expansion in Europe. With the friendly services and atmosphere of Chick-Fill-A fast-food chain, it has the potential to win the customer’s trust and love, increasing sales and the success rates of future expansion strategies.
The recent failure in the internalization strategy of Chick-Fill-A in England has raised many questions and concerns about the company’s future. Despite the challenges of operating in a saturated market, the restaurant chain could sustain its business in the US. However, with the controversial support of the biblical definition of a marriage, the company failed to expand beyond the continent. Abandoning this stance can increase Chick-Fill-A’s sales and success of future international expansions.
Guillotin B. (2020). Chick-Fil-A: International expansion challenges. Ivey Publishing.