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    Church's Chicken Cooks Up Right Recipe

    Company attributes five years of positive same-store sales to marketing and expansion.

    ATLANTA -- Church’s Chicken has seen a successful five-year stride of positive same-store domestic sales, with company officials attributing the strong performance to breakthrough marketing strategies and aggressive expansion domestically and internationally. Church’s said its recipe for success focuses on successful new product introductions, a strong creative campaign and an appealing and affordable value menu that aligns with the company’s tried-and-true focused value proposition.

    "Our marketing team, as well as the research and development team, work hard to ensure they develop thoughtful strategies, creative campaigns and relevant product offerings that will resonate well with our customer base," Church’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Farnaz Wallace, said in a statement. "We take pride in our value proposition and in knowing that our customers are satisfied with our great food and great prices."

    Company officials said Church’s is remaining true to its core values of a no-frills approach to serving great chicken items and signature sides, while never compromising on quality. Thanks to a commitment to ongoing research, Church’s said it is proactively responding to today’s current economic climate and rising food costs. Its new value menu is an example of a direct response to the changing climate, as well as an increase in the brand’s limited-time offers. Church’s also consistently brings back old classic favorites like Tender Crunchers and Country Fried Steak, which are contributors to increased sales.

    "With rising produce prices, people are expecting more value these days, and our recent menu items and limited-time-only offers feed our customers with a variety of quality meals while stretching their dollar," Wallace added in her statement.

    Despite the increase in poultry prices, Church’s has shifted customers away from absorbing these inflated costs. One way has been to increase the limited-time offers from two to eight per year. In fact, some limited-time offers take advantage of efficient use of the chicken. From time to time, Church’s noted it will offer Chicken Chili or a Barbeque Chicken Sandwich during colder months to satisfy customer’s craving for these regional favorites, while creating new revenue streams for the operator at the unit level.

    "We made a strategic decision not to pass on all of our commodity cost increases to our customers. Instead, we focused on some cost-cutting initiatives that do not impact our customer experience, coupled with strategic value menus and limited-time-only product offerings with limited price increases," said Wallace. "We also targeted a less price-sensitive customer base by providing them with premium items. This is how we have alleviated sales and profit erosion while experiencing strong sales."

    Franchise growth also has been a major contributing factor to sustained positive sales, the company said. Domestically, Church’s has added 25 new franchisees, recently entered the Seattle and Philadelphia markets, and added franchise commitments for 125 new stores. In the coming months, the brand will roll out new 1,200-square-foot, in-line prototypes and fully modular free-standing prototypes that are completely assembled in factory, while setting another record for domestic openings with 60 stores.

    As of November 2008, the Church's system consisted of more than 1,600 locations worldwide in 20 countries, with system sales exceeding $1 billion.

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