US based Chick-fil-A Inc. is set to expand to Toronto next year. Chick-fil-A is an Atlanta based fried chicken seller and the company plans to open 15 locations in Toronto area over the next five years with three in 2019.
Seventh biggest fast food chain in the US by annual sales number, Chick-fil-A plans to experience and learn from Toronto as an international expansion base to further expand into other countries.
According to Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A’s president:
The best city to kick it off is Toronto. It’s a global city. It has so many different ethnic groups. Toronto really represents the globe. We feel like it’s a great learning ground for us.”
Even though Chick-fil-A had opted for expansion to South Africa in the 1990s, it was not successful. however Chick-fil-A has operated with a limited menu at the Calgary airport since 2014 and in Toronto, Chick-fil-A plans to launch flagship downtown location as well as suburban outlets.
Owned Privately by the billionaire Cathy family who are Evangelical southern baptists, chick-fil-A came into controversy in 2012 when Ceo Dan Cathy spoke out in support of “the biblical definition of the family unit”. The first urban Chick-fil-A opened in 2011 in Chicago. It does not have restaurants in Seattle, San Francisco, or Boston – although it has some in the suburbs of those regions. But it has found success in Los Angeles. In New York, it has opened five restaurants since 2015, including its largest location in lower Manhattan this spring.
Of the controversy around Mr. Cathy’s 2012 comments – and the reception Chick-fil-A might see in Toronto, where some people will know its politics better than its food – Mr. said there has been a “high receptivity” to Chick-fil-A in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere.
Mr. Tassopoulos further said:
“Chick-fil-A’s made the commitment, and always has, to serve everyone. We’re part of the local community, and we reach out to every aspect of the community.”
“We have people of all faiths that are Chick-fil-A operators and of course our team member community, they’re 100,000 strong, and represent all different views and backgrounds and identities – so, very open.”
Robert Carter of NPD Group, Restaurant industry analyst predicted that Chick-fil-A Toronto will be a successful venture:
“There’s definitely legacy brand issues – but I don’t think that’s going to impact the brand here in Canada. That type of controversy has died down.”
Headquartered in the US, Chick-fil-A operates a chain of restaurants and specializes in chicken dishes. Chick-fil-A offers chicken entrees, sandwiches, salads as well as breakfast, dessert, beverages, kid’s meals, dressings and toppings.