ATLANTA – Chick-fil-A is set to open its first franchised restaurant outside the U.S. this year, Business Insider reports. The chicken-sandwich chain will start in Toronto, Canada, opening three stores in 2019. The chain has plans to open at least 15 stores in the greater Toronto area in the next five years.
“We had been considering international expansion for a while,” said company president and COO Tim Tassopoulos in a phone interview with Business Insider. “Based on the momentum we have had in the U.S., especially in urban markets like New York, Chicago, Seattle and Portland, we feel that now is the time to take the next step. Toronto is the next step.”
The Atlanta-based company reports it had 50 consecutive years of sales growth with more than 2,100 restaurants across the U.S. Chick-fil-A sales went from $6.8 billion in 2015 to $9 billion in 2017. And this isn’t the first time Chick-fil-A has entered international territory: Its food currently is available in the Calgary airport.
The news of an international expansion comes alongside a new petition hoping to bring Chick-fil-A to U.S. military bases. The petition on Change.org, asking for 75,000 signatures, asks for the U.S. government to contract with the chicken sandwich chain to open restaurants on military installations.