Who are the competitors of KFC?

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KFC is a leading brand in the QSR chicken category, headquartered in the US and a part of Yum Brand’s portfolio.

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It is an international brand with  84% of its stores located internationally.

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The company does business across 147 countries and territories.

KFC’s operations worldwide are run mainly through franchisees.

99% of its store units are operated by franchisees across the globe.

As of 2020, there were 25,000 stores of KFC operational across the globe.

KFC also accounted for more than 50% of Yum Brands’ sales globally in 2020.

Its net sales in 2020 amounted to $26.3 billion.

KFC was founded by Colonel Harland D Sanders, who signed up his first franchise in 1952.

Since then, KFC has experienced enormous growth in its popularity across the globe. 

No doubt, KFC is the favorite of chicken lovers worldwide.

The QSR industry is experiencing higher competition over the past several years.

There are several companies in the market, including local and international companies that compete with KFC in its domestic and international markets.

Here is a look at its leading competitors.

KFC competitors
KFC Competitors.

A List of KFC competitors:

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

While Popeyes has comparatively a smaller footprint, it is the leading competitor of KFC in the US and some other parts of the world.

Popeyes was founded in 1972, in New Orleans.

The company is owned by the Restaurant Brand International.

Its New Orleans styled menu features fried chicken, chicken tenders, fried shrimp, and other regional items.

The total number of Popeyes restaurants including the US and some other parts of the world is 3,451.

However, it is still a leading rival of KFC in the QSR chicken category

Chick Fil A:

Chick Fil A also has a comparatively smaller footprint than KFC.

However, it is a leading brand in the US market in the QSR chicken category and a primary rival of KFC.

Founded in 1946 by S Truett Cathy, the brand is known for its chicken sandwiches and other chicken products.

The business is still owned by the Cathy family.

Its net revenues in 2019 were $11.3 billion.

Chick Fil A operates in the US market mainly; it has 2,723 stores operational (2020) and the company has a significant footprint across the United States.

It is also one of the most popular brands in the QSR chicken category.

Chipotle:

Chipotle or Chipotle Mexican Grill is one of the leading American fast food chains, which apart from the US market, also serves the UK, Canada, Germany, and France.

It specializes in Tacos and mission burritos which are prepared before the customer.

However, chipotle has a significant presence across the United States and deals in a nice range of chicken items.

It mainly deals in fast casual Mexican recipes and remains one of the significant competitors of KFC.

McDonald’s:

McDonald’s is undoubtedly the most well known and largest fast food chain in the world based on the number of stores operational and total net annual sales. 

Apart from its strong global presence, the company has acquired success through its focus on menu diversity and innovation.

McDonald’s has introduced a large and diverse menu which also includes a large variety of chicken items.

McDonald’s is among the strongest players in the fast food industry and one of the most significant rivals of KFC.

Like KFC, McDonald’s also operates a franchising business model and a very large part of its business is operated through franchisees. It is currently the highest valued brand in the QSR industry followed by Starbucks.

Burger King:

Burger King is among the leading brands in the fast food industry.

It is owned by restaurant business international, which also owns Popeyes and Tim Hortons.

Based on the number of restaurants operational, it was the second largest fast food hamburger restaurant chain in the world.

Burger King was founded in 1954 and since then it has expanded its international presence significantly.

Now, BK operates across 100 markets in the world.

At the end of 2020, there were 18,625 BK restaurants operational across the world.

Burger King’s menu features flame-grilled hamburgers, chicken and other specialty sandwiches, french fries, soft drinks and other food items.

It sells a nice range of chicken items and is among the leading rivals of KFC.

Wendy’s:

Wendy’s is also one of the leading names in the QSR industry.

The Company opened its first restaurant in Columbus, Ohio in 1969.

Now, it’s the second largest company in the QSR hamburger category in the US and the third largest in the world based on footfall.

As of January 2021, it had 6,828 stores operational in the US and 30 other markets across the globe.

It has divided its business into two main segments including the US and International.

Wendy’s has maintained a significant presence in the US market where it had 5,881 stores operational in January 2020.

Its business is also operated mainly by franchisees.

Wendy’s specializes in hamburger sandwiches and filet of chicken breast sandwiches, which are prepared to order with the customer’s choice of condiments.

Wendy’s menu also includes chicken nuggets, chili, french fries, baked potatoes, freshly prepared salads, soft drinks, Frosty desserts and kids’ meals.

The company offers a nice range of chicken products and therefore is a significant competitor of KFC.

Subway:

Subway is a privately owned QSR brand with a significant presence across more than 100 markets.

It was founded in 1965 and as of 2021, it had 37,540 stores operational worldwide.

It mainly sells submarine sandwiches (or subs), wraps, salads and beverages.

However, the leading market of Subway is the United States, where more than half of its stores are located.

Subway sells both chicken and vegetarian products and is among the leading players in the QSR industry.

It is owned by the Deluca family.

Domino’s:

Domino’s is also among the leading players in the QSR industry that serves a diverse choice of pizzas and other products in both chicken and veg categories.

Founded in 1960, Domino’s has grown into the world’ largest QSR pizza chain in the world.

It is among the leading players in the US QSR sector.

Domino’s enjoyed excellent growth during the pandemic.

It is also among the most popular brands in the QSR sector that sells in the US and 90 other markets.

However, the US business of Domino’s accounts for a significant part of its revenues compared to the international segment. 

Pizza Hut:

Pizza Hut is also a leading player in the QSR sector in the pizza category, owned by Yum brands, which also owns KFC and Taco Bell.

At the end of 2020, Pizza Hut had 17,639 stores operational worldwide in 110 countries.

Operating in the delivery, carryout and casual dining segments around the world, Pizza Hut has established a strong global presence. It deals in a nice range of pizzas including veg and non veg items.

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The other competitors of KFC include Tim Horton, Jack in Box, Starbucks and other international and local fast food brands.