Chick-fil-A plots UK return

By Restaurant

- Last updated on GMT

Photo credit: Wikicommons (Mr. Blue MauMau)
Photo credit: Wikicommons (Mr. Blue MauMau)

Related tags Chick-fil-A US chain Fast food Fried chicken QSR

US fast food chain Chick-fil-A has announced it is planning to relaunch in the UK in early 2025 and expand to five sites within the first two years.

The Atlanta-based fried chicken chain, which runs more than 2,800 restaurants across the US, plans to invest $100m (£80m) in the UK over the next decade and create between 80 and 120 jobs per store.

The UK expansion is part of a larger $1bn (£800m) plan to launch Chick-fil-A in five markets outside North America by 2030.

Chick-fil-A is hoping to attract UK franchise partners to its 'unique' owner-operator model, which requires $10,000 (£8,000) of investment from the franchisee.

According to the chain, four in every five franchisees will operate just one site.

Chick-fil-A's plan to return to UK shores come four years after it tried and failed to get a foothold in the market. Back in 2019 it opened a site within Reading's Oracle shopping centre​ that was subsequently marked for closure little more than a week later​.

The chicken chain’s reported historic donations to anti-LGBT+ organisations led gay rights charity Reading Pride to call for a boycott of the restaurant, and the Oracle later announced it was not planning to extend the chain’s lease beyond its six-month pilot period.

It subsequently launched a site at the Macdonald Aviemore Hotel in the Scottish Highlands​, but that site closed too within a few months​. 

The company, which is led by the founder’s grandson Andrew Cathy, has in recent years overhauled its philanthropic policy to focus on education, homelessness and hunger.

“From our earliest days, we’ve worked to positively influence the places we call home and this will be the same for our stores in the UK,” said Joanna Symonds, Chick-fil-A’s head of UK operations.

Chick-fil-A does not open on Sundays in the US because of religious reasons and, according to the Financial Times​, the same policy would apply in the UK.

Anita Costello, Chick-fil-A’s chief international officer, said the franchise model would bring 'one of a kind access to entrepreneurial opportunities'.

“We are excited our restaurants will bring new jobs and opportunities throughout the UK,” she added.

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