Chick-fil-A is set to open its first store in the United Kingdom in early 2025 and will launch five in the market within the first two years.
The company said in mid-September invest $100 million over 10 years in the market, the first country targeted in a billion-dollar international expansion plan.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that the Atlanta-based chicken chain would open permanent overseas stores in Europe and Asia by 2026.
Chick-fil-A recently broke into Canada in a significant way and also has stores in Puerto Rico, with plans for further expansion in both markets.
But the chain has been more circumspect about forays outside North America, where it operates 2,800 stores and generates more than $16 billion in annual sales.
Chick-fil-A’s first experiment in the U.K. in 2019 ended after a six months amid protests on the company’s stance on gay marriage.
Each restaurant will create 80-120 jobs, and the company will replicate its owner-operator model across the pond.
That contrasts with brands that set up strict agreements requiring master franchisees to open multiple locations in new markets. Some 80 percent of Chick-fil-A’s operators own only one store, and the required investment is just $10,000.
Chick-fil-A will source all chicken for its British stores from the U.K. and Ireland and use 100 percent free-range eggs. Chick-fil-A will donate $25,000 to a local nonprofit fighting hunger in each community where a new store opens.
“We are excited our restaurants will bring new jobs and opportunities throughout the U.K. Serving communities is at the heart of everything we do at Chick-fil-A, and our unique local owner-operator model provides one of a kind access to entrepreneurial opportunities,” Anita Costello chief international office at Chick-fil-A Inc., said in a news release.