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Chick-fil-A Wants You To Eat Mor Chikin From Its Own Distribution Centers

Chick-fil-A, which has experienced rapid growth in recent years, will roll out its first company-owned distribution facility this summer in Cartersville, Georgia, with more to come, though the chicken specialist didn't specify how many.

The first Chick-fil-A-owned distribution center, which is in Georgia.

Chick-fil-A is finding it hard to keep up with demand through its existing distribution channels because the volume of food and products needed to serve its restaurants has grown so much recently, and its restaurants are becoming increasingly complex.

Demand is intense. The chicken chain was the seventh-largest American fast-food company at the end of 2017, and it will probably be third by 2020

Driving demand is how much people like Chick-fil-A as a fast-food experience. The American Customer Satisfaction Index for 2018 scored Chick-fil-A at 87, putting it at No. 1 in the limited-service restaurant category, the same ranking it received in 2017. No. 2 Panera scored 81.

Chick-fil-A stores take in more revenue than any other U.S. fast-food restaurant chain. The average Chick-fil-A location saw more than $4M in sales in 2017, according to restaurant trade publication QSR, well outclassing No. 2 Whataburger, which recorded $2.7M in sales per store. Zaxby's, the second-place chicken restaurant, got an average of $2.3M in sales per store in 2017.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A said the new distribution centers will help ensure restaurants have the ingredients, packaging and other items they need. They will also allow the company to deal with other distribution challenges posed by its growth, including high-volume deliveries and varied and complex delivery environments.

The Cartersville distribution facility will start as a pilot location, serving a single restaurant in the area. By the end of this year, it will serve about 20 restaurants.

At a nearby site, Chick-fil-A is building a larger, permanent distribution center that will open in the summer of 2020, with capacity to service as many as 300 restaurants. 

The facilities are meant to supplement, but not completely replace, the company's existing supply chain, according to the company.

Once the new facilities are up and running, they will also provide Chick-fil-A with data to help it create a more seamless distribution process throughout the rest of the chain, and identify how to drive cost savings and performance, Supply Chain Dive reports.

Related Topics: Chick-fil-A, food distribution