Chick-fil-A stock could be a game changer for investors looking to add fast food companies to their portfolios. But is it possible to buy Chick-fil-A shares? Tune into our breakdown of this poultry powerhouse to find out.
Can You Buy Chick-fil-A Stock?
You cannot buy stock in Chick-fil-A at this time because it is a privately held company. Fortunately, there’s a way to invest in Chick-fil-A that can pay handsomely. It’s not the same as owning shares in the company on the stock market, but it could be a solid alternative.
Before the original owner and founder, Samuel Truett Cathy, passed away in 2014, he made his children and heirs to the company sign a contract that they would never go public with the company. This means that the current owners cannot sell shares of the company to the public on the stock market — even if they wanted to.
We’re going to break down everything you need to know about investing in Chick-fil-A stock and some competitors that are worth a second look, so read on for the full scoop.
Before we dig into the details, let’s look at the astonishingly successful restaurant brand.
Chick-fil-A was first opened in 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia, by its founder Samuel Truett Cathy.
The company originally was run under the brand name Dwarf House and was known for its hamburgers and steaks. This is before it made the shift toward chicken sandwiches in 1967. The rest was history.
There are still 12 named Dwarf House locations in the country where you can grab a burger or strip steak.
Chick-fil-A is a remarkably successful fast-food company, but it has not been without controversy.
This casual restaurant company has come under public scrutiny due to its history of donating to charities that critics say contribute to anti-LGBT causes. Cathy had also made several public statements declaring his beliefs that same-sex marriage is immoral.
Chick-fil-A has said that they no longer donate to such organizations, but there still seems to be some lingering animosity toward the company.
Despite the controversies, the company has generated an enormous amount of goodwill — and profits. Chick-fil-A is known for donating leftover food to local charity programs, and the company has provided free food to the public during crises and emergencies.
Many people also greatly appreciate the publicly professed Christian family values of the owners.
Who Owns Chick-fil-A?
Chick-fil-A is a private company owned by the two sons of S. Truett Cathy (Chick-fil-A’s founder).
Dan Cathy was the company’s CEO until 2021, when he handed the reins to his son, Andrew. Dan Cathy still fills a chairman role with the company, and other family members are in active management roles as well.
Chick-fil-A Net Worth and Revenue
Chick-fil-A’s estimated net worth is about $15 billion in 2022.
The average Chick-fil-A unit (store) pulls in around $4 million in revenue each year, much higher than most other fast-food restaurants. The company’s CEO, Dan Cathy, has an estimated net worth of $6.06 billion.
Overall, there are fewer Chick-fil-A locations than other major chains like McDonald’s or Wendy’s, but each individual Chick-fil-A location pulls in a tremendous amount of money.
Let’s take a quick look at the company’s revenue.
Chick-fil-A’s 2021 revenue was estimated at $4.3 billion. This is up by 13% compared to its 2019 revenue of $3.8 billion. That’s a pretty impressive number in the restaurant business.
On average, each location brings in about $8.1 million in restaurant sales. Its success isn’t too surprising, given that Chick-fil-A was named the number one restaurant brand in America for six straight years by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
With half-of-a-million customers craving its high-quality food each day, there were likely few negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the pandemic is subsiding, it will be interesting to see if Chick-fil-A’s sales climb even higher.
How to Buy Chick-fil-A Stock
Chick-fil-A stock is not publicly traded, so you can’t buy it at the moment, but there are ways you could potentially own Chick-fil-A stock — without it going public.
These options are not currently available, but they might be worth keeping an eye on. They are:
- Fractional ownership
- Pre-IPO shares
Let’s start with fractional ownership.
There are services online that allow you to own a fractional share of a franchise. One of these services is FranShares (review). FranShares is open to everyone, and the minimum investment is very competitive in the crowdfunding investment space.
The second is buying shares of Chick-fil-A if they’re listed on a pre-IPO marketplace, like EquityZen or Linqto (review).
It doesn’t look like these platforms support investing in Chick-fil-A currently, but this may be a way to invest in the company without breaking the stipulations set by the founder.
Though, with how intent Samuel Truett Cathy was on keeping the company private, he might have anticipated this.
Chick-fil-A IPO Date
There’s no news on a scheduled IPO date for Chick-fil-A. Its owners have no plans of moving forward with an IPO — and for good reason. When companies go public and are traded on the stock exchange, the owner might lose a lot of control over what happens in business operations.
If publicly owned, Chick-fil-A may be pressured by shareholders to take specific business actions — like remaining open on Sunday, which is against the original owner’s closely held religious beliefs.
This is chiefly why its owners want it to remain a privately held company, and why we won’t see a Chick-fil-A IPO. So, unfortunately, this company may never trade on the stock market.
Chick-fil-A Stock Symbol
Since Chick-fil-A stocks are unavailable, there is no public stock symbol or market ticker for the company.
An excellent option would be FILA or CHIK, but unless the owners change inheritance contracts in the future, we are not likely to get a stock symbol for the company soon.
To know for sure what the stock ticker for Chick-fil-A would be, the company would need to submit S-1 filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This is the registration used to kick-start the IPO process.
Chick-fil-A Stock Price
Until Chick-fil-A becomes a publicly traded company, it will not have a listed stock price. We looked for estimates, but there is quite a bit of variance in the answers provided.
While we can’t know for sure what the official stock price is, we can make some guesstimates.
Based on the competitor stocks on our list, Chick-fil-A shares could be priced around $100-$200 each. This is a loose estimate of the stock price, Chick-fil-A could trade above or below this range.
Chick-fil-A Franchise: An Alternative to Stock
If you’re set on investing in Chick-fil-A outside of owning its stock, there’s still hope. You can still make money through the business by opening a Chick-fil-A franchise location.
For $10,000, you can open a franchise and profit from the company’s activities.
The $10,000 price tag sounds like a lot at first, but that is very cheap compared to some other companies. For example, franchising costs for McDonald’s are around $1 million.
Chick-fil-A does limit franchising licenses, though. Franchise owners can only operate one location, and they must abide by strict company policies and inspections.
There is a good reason why Chick-fil-A has received praise for its friendly staff and smooth operations. It takes its values seriously, which is largely why people flock to its restaurants.
The company wants owners to focus on one store to ensure it is running as efficiently as possible.
Chick-fil-A’s franchises are very profitable as well. According to data from Franchise City, the average Chick-fil-A franchise owner can earn around $200,000 a year. That is a pretty sweet ROI if you ask us. The only tricky part is that Chick-fil-A is highly selective about franchise owners.
So while you can’t buy stock in Chick-fil-A, being a franchisee can help you join in on Chick-fil-A’s success.
About 20,000 people inquire about becoming franchise owners each year, but Chick-fil-A approves a mere 80. That’s less than half a percent of inquiries.
Either way, the super cheap costs are an excellent reason to check out franchising opportunities for Chick-fil-A. Given that the average fast-food franchise cost is about $30,000, the $10,000 bill for Chick-fil-A is way more tolerable (and probably more profitable as well!).
Chick-fil-A Competitors You Can Invest In
While you can’t sell or trade Chick-fil-A stock, there are plenty of other publicly traded companies in the fast-food business to consider.
Many of these competitors are heavy hitters in fast food.
McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD)
Almost everyone in the world has heard of McDonald’s, and probably no other fast-food chain has as much name-brand recognition as this burger behemoth.
McDonald’s stock could be a great choice for investors — especially in the past year, thanks to several successful product launches.
It has been trending recently because the company recently unveiled its online MyMcDonald’s loyalty program in late 2021.
However, like all restaurants, McDonald’s stock took a hit due to COVID-19, but the company managed to recover thanks to its online and delivery sales.
Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM)
Yum! Brands is the conglomerate owner behind national fast-food chains KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Collectively.
Yum! operates over 50,000 locations in over 150 countries.
Unlike many fast-food brands, Yum! has managed to recover its pandemic losses completely and has recently hit an all-time high at over ~$130 a share. Yum! has seen revenue losses the past two years due to re-franchising efforts, but the company’s P/E multiple has been steadily rising in tandem.
Q3 2020 saw a great recovery for Yum! stock after switching to a delivery model.
It could be a great alternative to owning stock in Chick-fil-A.
Restaurant Brands International Inc (NYSE: QSR)
QSR is the conglomerate behind Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes, among other chains.
The company operates over 27,000 locations in 100 countries.
QSR stock has been showing great short-term signals lately, with strong revenue generation from their major brands and good dividend payouts.
Shake Shack Inc (NYSE: SHAK)
Shake Shack is another retail investor favorite for a while and still is a good buy, despite a handful of recent problems.
Shake Shack saw revenue drop due to shortfalls from switching over to a digital model.
Online and digital sales have been growing rapidly, so the company could present much better revenue figures for 2023.
Wait for a Chick-fil-A IPO or No?
Chick-fil-A is a fast-food restaurant powerhouse and could have plenty of potential as an investment. Despite some controversies in the past, the company is still holding strong and competes with some of the biggest names in the business.
Also, the longer this fast-food chain remains in business, the more its name recognition grows. We may one day see this company extend its reach across the globe in a similar fashion to competitors like McDonald’s
So if Chick-fil-A ever goes public on the stock exchange, you might want to consider grabbing a few shares.
Make sure to do your own due diligence before picking up any stock, however. This includes Chick-fil-A.
Just because this fast-food chain looks like a slam dunk now doesn’t mean it’s always going to have the same investment potential.
Unfortunately, stocks are not on the Chick-fil-A menu.
Chick-fil-A is in a similar place as other sought-after private companies, like In N Out Burger.
While not being able to own a piece of this fast-food restaurant is a bit of a bummer, there are some options.
First, folks could invest in some of the alternative stocks we mentioned. Some include McDonald’s, Yum!, Shake Shack, and Restaurant Brands Inc. We didn’t mention Chipotle Mexican Grill stock, but it could also be a good option.
Secondly, some pre-IPO companies do list their shares on investment platforms, such as Linqto. Not all private companies take this route, however.
Lastly, if you’re really looking to invest in Chick-fil-A right away, you might want to consider franchising a location.
Chick-fil-A Stock FAQ and Recap
Can You Invest in Chick-fil-A?
You can invest in Chick-fil-A, but you’ll need to run a franchise location to do so. Chick-fil-A remains one of the best in the business for franchises, so this is a fair compromise. Sometime down the road, you may also be able to buy shares in the company through a pre-IPO marketplace or fractional ownership.
Who Owns Chick-fil-A Stock?
Chick-fil-A stock is currently split between founder Samuel Truett Cathy’s family heirs. It will likely remain this way until the family members pass on their stakes in this popular chicken sandwich company. You own your share of the profits, like many other Chick-fil-A franchisees.
What Are the Benefits of Owning a Chick-fil-A Franchise?
Owning and operating a Chick-fil-A franchise has many benefits, including that Chick-fil-A takes on the majority of startup costs. There are some disadvantages to franchising a Chick-fil-A, however, such as not being able to select the location.
Will Chick-fil-A Ever Become a Publicly Traded Company?
There’s virtually no chance that Chick-fil-A will ever become a publicly traded company. Its founder made his heirs sign a contract forbidding them from doing so, and the current owners have repeatedly expressed their wishes to keep the company entirely in the hands of the family.