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How Church’s Chicken Generated Positive Growth By Going Digital

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Nearly two years ago, Church’s Chicken started a digital transformation with the goal of reaching new guests with digital media and creating loyalty. Since then, the company says that it has enjoyed positive sales and growth, which included a 540% increase in order ahead sales in 2020 when compared to the previous year.

In addition, its third-party delivery sales increased by 77% in the same period, and its web conversion rate reached 16%. “The digital success we are seeing now is because of plans and initiatives first put in place in 2019,” Vice President of Digital Marketing and Technology Alan Magee said. “The industry has been shifting to a digital-first approach over time and the pandemic has only accelerated this consumer behavior.

“We’re out to grow our customer base in ways that drive traffic and create loyalty, because it’s ultimately the experience of Church’s quality food and authentic hospitality that makes people Church’s fans for life.”

“Church’s digital transformation allowed us to pivot quickly in response to COVID-19 and we even ended the year with six months of consecutive positive sales as a result,” he added. “Our investment in building both integrated and consumer-focused digital platforms continues to allow us to thrive as a brand.”

By the end of 2020, Church’s completed several initiatives that were focused on sales growth, market presence and operational efficiencies. This included the relaunch of its website with a focus on mobile optimization. Thanks to this initiative, the company grew the number of its guests who engage with the brand on a mobile device to nearly 85% and enjoyed a 295% increase in digital restaurant engagements.

Church’s also made enhancements to its e-mail platform and launched a customer database to create more personalized and dynamic communications. It also expanded its social media presence with a new playbook that is focused on community engagement with loyal fans, micro-influencers and in-market engagement campaigns. Thanks to these efforts, the company grew fan engagement 63% year over year between 2019 and 2020.

The company said its mobile app, which required Magee and the digital team to perform an end-to-end overhaul to allow more robust functionality, now allows guests to make contact-free pick-up orders, access app-only promotions and save their favorites so they can easily reorder them. This gave Church’s an increase in adoption among Gen Z and millennial audiences, particularly after the introduction of its new chicken sandwich.

“Most importantly, we translated our increased digital position into sales,” Magee said. “That is a critical benchmark for us as the digital space becomes more crowded and competitive.”

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