Church's Chicken leadership said today that the company has sold 70 of its corporately owned locations to franchise operator, Ampler Chicken LLC. It's one of several achievements that allowed the brand to close out the year with its strategic "to-do" list completely accomplished, a news release said.
Aside from the Ampler sale, the brand sold six Atlanta restaurants to existing franchise operator, Sal Kabiruddin of KSH Chicken Restaurants LLC. The two sales check off 2017 goals of reimaging existing locations, expanding with a localized presence in to of its key areas and boosting the brand experience.
"Texas is the birthplace of Church's Chicken, and our headquarters are in Atlanta. These are both critical territories," Church's CEO Joe Christina said in the release. "These two areas offer future strategic growth opportunities for the brand in the year ahead.
"Ampler Chicken is led by industry veterans with a successful track record overseeing the operations of thousands of restaurants. We're excited and confident that these franchisees will bring energy and enthusiasm to all teams involved."
Without taking much time to take a load off, the brand is moving forward into 2018, after changes this year in leadership, agency structure, international growth strategy, and franchisee relationships.
"Our goal is to create great Church's experiences guests love, and to more effectively produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide our organization," Christina said. "We are confident that this transition will give these restaurants new, meaningful opportunities to connect with guests and continue our 65-year tradition of excellence."
Ampler Chicken will be Church's No. 3 largest multi-unit franchisee in the U.S. and fourth largest globally. Ampler is sponsored by an investment firm with a permanent capital source and a long operating history in Texas. Industry veteran Steve Wiborg leads the company with more than 30 years at the franchisee and executive level experience for brands like Burger King.
"We are committed to making these restaurants an extraordinary experience for guests and team members alike," Wiborg said in the release. "Every Church's restaurant will provide a rewarding work environment for team members and a place for communities to enjoy excellent hospitality and delicious fried chicken."
Kabiruddin of KSH Chicken Restaurants owns a number of Orlando-area Church's Restaurants which have significantly improved sales and satisfaction under his leadership, the release said.
Church's opened in 1952, and has more than 1,650 locations in 27 countries and international territories. System-wide sales equal more than $1 billion, according to the release.