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Church's Texas Chicken

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Church's Texas Chicken
Church's Chicken
(in Puerto Rico, Honduras and Venezuela)
Texas Chicken
Church's Texas Chicken[1][2]
Company typePrivate
FoundedApril 17, 1952; 72 years ago (1952-04-17) in San Antonio, Texas
FounderGeorge W. Church Sr.
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Number of locations
1,500+ (2022)
Areas served
United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Belarus, Bahrain, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Honduras
Key people
Joseph Guith
Tim Waddell
(EVP, International)
Natalia Franco
(CMO, Global)
Roland Gonzalez
(COO, North America)
Danton Nolan
Craig Prusher
Karen Viera
ProductsFast food, most known for its fried chicken, honey-butter biscuits and jalapenos.
RevenueIncrease US$ 1.3 billion (2022)
Increase US$ 1.2 billion (2019)
OwnerHigh Bluff Capital Partners (United States)
South America Restaurants Corporation (Honduras, Puerto Rico and Venezuela)

Church's Texas Chicken is an American fast food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The chain was founded as Church's Fried Chicken To-Go by George W. Church Sr. on April 17, 1952, in San Antonio, Texas, across the street from The Alamo.[3][4] Church's Texas Chicken trades as Texas Chicken or Church's Chicken in many countries.[1][2] The chain is currently owned by American private equity firm High Bluff Capital Partners. As of 2017, Church's Texas Chicken had more than 1,700 franchised and company-owned locations in 26 countries.[5]


Logo, Texas Chicken
Logo, Church's Texas Chicken

In 1952, retired chicken incubator salesman George W. Church Sr. opened the first Church's Chicken, named Church's Fried Chicken To-Go, in San Antonio, Texas.[6][7]

Initially, Church's Chicken was a single walk-up establishment[8] that only sold fried chicken,[9] and two pieces of chicken and a roll cost 49 cents. Church's Chicken added fries and jalapeños to its menu in 1955.[3] To allow customers to see their food prepared while they waited, Church Sr. designed the kitchen with the fryers next to the takeout window.[3]

Early expansion, franchising and sale[edit]

The company had four restaurants by the time of Church Sr.'s death in 1956.[3] After his death, family members took over operations, and in 1962, with Church Sr.'s son Bill Church Jr. as top executive, there were eight restaurants in San Antonio. To begin expanding and franchising in 1965, Church Jr. and his brother Richard developed a signature marinade that could be prepared at any location. Former vacuum cleaner salesman J. David Bamberger, who first met Church Jr. when he joined Bamberger's vacuum cleaner distributorship,[10] joined Church's Chicken in 1965 to oversee the franchising. By 1967, the chain opened restaurants in five Texan cities outside of San Antonio and operated 17 restaurants in 1968.[4][9]

In 1966, a contract between Church's Fried Chicken, Inc. and Jim Dandy Fast Foods, Inc. gave Jim Dandy the right to use the trade names and trademarks "Church's Fried Chicken" or "Church's" within fifty miles of Houston's city hall and within the city limits of Galveston, Texas for ten years, as long as Church's Chicken received the agreed upon royalties.[11][12]

In 1968, the Church family sold the company, which became incorporated and went public in 1969.[9] By the end of that year, there were more than 100 Church's Chicken restaurants in seven states, making the chain the first from Texas to become a national one. Church's Chicken gained 387 more restaurants between 1969 and 1974.[3][9]

In the late 1970s, the chain briefly operated a hamburger franchise in Texas called G.W. Jrs. The roughly 60 locations were shuttered in 1985.[3]

In 1980, Church Jr. resigned as corporation chairman and was replaced by childhood friend Roger Harvin.[4]

Hala Moddelmog was appointed president of Church's Chicken in March 1996, making her the first female president of a fast food restaurant chain.[13]

Global and national expansion[edit]

Church's Chicken began its international expansion in the 1970s and the locations were in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Puerto Rico.[14][15] It also gained popularity in the 1980s when it was first opened in Indonesia under a trade name "Texas Chicken".[15][16] The first reason of changing the name into "Texas" is because the brand name "Church" does not seem to be popular for countries with majority non-Christian religions such as Indonesia.[17] Afterwards, locations in Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, and the Philippines were also opened under the trade name "Texas Chicken".

In February 2008, Church's Chicken entered the UK market under the "Texas Chicken" name, claiming to have signed up 50 former Dixy Chicken franchisees.[18] However, only a small number of restaurants opened, with one in High Road Leytonstone, London, and another in Salford, Greater Manchester.[19] They withdrew from the country a few years later, and the former Texas Chicken location in Leytonstone was replaced with a new independent fried chicken restaurant known as Tex Bites. (Church's in the UK is also the name of an unrelated shoe store chain.)

In 2017, Church's Chicken announced a multi-year development deal with Goalz Restaurant Group, LLC to develop 20 Church's Chicken restaurants each year in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina and South Carolina.[20]

As of 2022, Church's Texas Chicken operates more than 1,500 locations worldwide.[5] Its international locations include Bahrain, Belarus, Cambodia, Canada, Curaçao, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand,[21] Oman, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Qatar,[22][23] Singapore, St. Lucia, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.[24]


After a four-month legal dispute to avoid a takeover, Church's Chicken became the second-largest chicken restaurant chain when it was acquired by Popeyes for $330 million in 1989.[9][25] The acquisition court documents stated that Church's Chicken would close 250 of its restaurants, "keep 92 with the Church's name, rename 303 others as Popeyes and sell 440 others for about $160 million over the next four years".[25] Merrill Lynch and a group of banks led by Canadian Imperial financed the acquisition, and in 1992, Popeyes' parent company, Al Copeland Enterprises, Inc., was forced to file chapter 11 bankruptcy for the more than $400 million debt it owed its creditors for the Church's Chicken buyout.[26] In 1993, Al Copeland Enterprises, Inc. was renamed AFC Enterprises, Inc., or America's Favorite Chicken, and became the parent company of Church's Chicken and Popeyes.[26][3]

In 2004, Arcapita bought Church's Chicken from AFC Enterprises, Inc.,[9] and former Domino's Pizza and Little Caesars executive Harsha Agadi became president and CEO of Church's Chicken.[27] Because Arcapita invests in companies that respect Shari'ah principles, it removed pork products from the Church's Chicken menu in 2005.[28]

In 2007, AFC Enterprises, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Church's Chicken and former franchise group CVI Company for allegedly colluding to breach Popeyes' franchise, development and guaranty agreements with CVI when "Church's [Chicken] bought all 10 of CVI's Popeyes' restaurants and converted most of them to the Church's Chicken brand".[29]

On August 10, 2009, San Francisco private equity firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe bought Church's Chicken from Arcapita at an estimated value of $390 million, according to Financial Times.[30][31] In June 2019, it was reported that Friedman Fleischer & Lowe placed the company up for sale after years of declining sales and store counts.[32]

On August 2, 2021, Church's Chicken announced that it would be acquired by High Bluff-backed Rego Restaurant Group, the owners of Quiznos and Taco del Mar. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter.[33]


By the mid-to late-1990s, Church's Chicken and hamburger chain White Castle announced their co-franchise, in which both companies would sell their own separate products while operating in some shared restaurant spaces with some shared personnel.[34] In Canada, Church's Chicken items were once available in Harvey's restaurants, but the co-venture was discontinued.[35]


Box of 6-pack chicken wings from Texas Chicken

Church's Texas Chicken offers a menu featuring a variety of fried chicken options alongside classic sides and desserts. Their signature item, the Fried Chicken, boasts a crispy, golden-brown exterior with tender, juicy meat inside, seasoned to with a blend of herbs and spices. Additionally, their menu includes options such as Chicken Tenders, and Boneless Wings.

Other menu highlights include Spicy Chicken, Chicken Tenders, and Boneless Wings, providing a diverse range of options to cater to varying preferences. Accompanying these main dishes are classic Southern sides such as mashed potatoes with gravy, fried okra, coleslaw, corn on the cob and jalapeño peppers. Dessert offerings include treats like honey butter biscuits and apple pie.[9][36] Additionally, Church's Texas Chicken restaurants offer a seasonal seafood menu featuring shrimp and crispy fish, providing customers with an alternative to their classic fried chicken options.[37][38]

Since 1952, Church's Texas Chicken restaurants have served beverages supplied by The Coca-Cola Company. In 2008, the companies reaffirmed their commitment with the renewal of their existing contract, continuing to provide customers with beloved Coca-Cola beverages.[39] Furthermore, in a strategic move announced in 2021, Church's Chicken revealed Performance Performance Food Group Company as its exclusive distributor in the United States through 2026.[40]

Sponsorship and philanthropy[edit]

From 1979 through 1986, Church's Chicken sponsored the ChessCafe Grand Prix tournaments under the auspices of the United States Chess Federation.[41]

Church's Partners Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charity that supports the employees of franchisees of Church's Chicken, their families and their communities.[42] The foundation awards $1,000 scholarships to American high school students through their Church's Scholars Program and announced that over $227,000 worth of scholarships would be awarded during the 2018–2019 academic year.[43]

Church's Chicken has partnered with No Kid Hungry since 2016.[44]

Incidents and Responses[edit]

United States[edit]

Oklahoma restaurant closures[edit]

In 2015, the Oklahoma Tax Commission shuttered 15 Church's Chicken restaurants owned by the Reciprocity Restaurant Group LLC for not paying more than $400,000 in sales taxes to the state of Oklahoma.[45][46]

Data breach[edit]

In 2019, Church's Chicken launched an investigation into a data breach of their payment processing systems. At least 160 company-owned restaurants in 11 states were impacted.[47][48]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Church's Chicken restaurants closed their dining rooms and continued their drive-thru,[49] counter, takeout and delivery services.[50]

Company executives announced a franchisee relief plan where Church's Chicken franchisees could defer 50% of their royalties and ad fund contributions for the next four weeks, beginning March 30, 2020.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Texas Chicken International Locations". Church's Chicken. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Church's Chicken names leaders for growing international business". QSR Web. 30 March 2021. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Quinn, Chris (March 15, 2019). "Things to know about San Antonio favorite Church's Chicken". My San Antonio. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Bill Church Jr. expanded Church's Chicken into an extensive fast-food chain". San Antonio-Express. February 19, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Our History". Church's Chicken Canada. Archived from the original on June 9, 2021. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  6. ^ Jakle, John A.; Sculle, Keith A. (March 27, 2002). Fast Food Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 223. ISBN 9780801869204. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  7. ^ Laulajainen, R. (2012). Spatial Strategies in Retailing. Germany: Springer Netherlands. p. 87. ISBN 9789400939837. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  8. ^ Klein, Danny (June 2019). "Church's Chicken Seeking a Buyer, Reports Say". QSR Magazine. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Andrew F. (August 30, 2006). Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food (1st ed.). Greenwood. p. 52. ISBN 9780313086687. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Greene, Jeffrey (April 2008). Water from Stone: The Story of Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve. United States: Texas A&M University Press. p. 77. ISBN 9781603440639. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  11. ^ Church's Fried Chicken, Inc. v. Jim Dandy Fast Foods, Inc., 574 S.W.2d 600 (Tex. Civ. App. November 8, 1978).
  12. ^ Church's Fried Chicken, Inc. v. Jim Dandy Fast Foods, Inc., 608 S.W.2d 242 (Tex. Civ. App. September 24, 1980).
  13. ^ "The fast-food queen who triumphed over adversity". BBC News. January 12, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  14. ^ "Texas Canada History". Texas Canada. February 10, 2020. Archived from the original on November 27, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Texas Malaysia History". Texas Malaysia. July 8, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  16. ^ "Texas Singapore History". Texas Singapore. March 15, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  17. ^ "Weird Texas: Church's Chicken is known as Texas Chicken in other countries". Chron. Jun 20, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  18. ^ "Texas Chicken to challenge KFC in UK". The Caterer. 6 February 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Texas Chicken, Salford". Flickr. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Church's Chicken signs franchise development deal with Goalz Restaurant Group". The Fence Post. May 30, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  21. ^ Lane, Jordan; Reporter, Digital. "Texas Chicken to open 20 new branches in NZ". 1 News.
  22. ^ "Texas Chicken opens 4th branch in al Rayyan".
  23. ^ "Church's Texas Chicken™". qatar.texaschicken.com.
  24. ^ "International Locations". Church's Chicken. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "POPEYES WINS TAKEOVER FIGHT FOR CHURCH'S". The Washington Post. February 16, 1989. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  26. ^ a b "Popeyes, Church's Chicken Chains Given to Canadian Bank Group". AP News. October 21, 1992. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  27. ^ Collier, Joe Guy (August 10, 2012). "Private equity firm in San Francisco to buy chain from Arcapita Bank; headquarters to remain in Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  28. ^ Hlavaty, Craig (June 19, 2017). "Weird Texas: Church's Chicken is known as Texas Chicken in other countries". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  29. ^ "Popeyes Chicken sues Church's Chicken". Boston.com. Associated Press. February 28, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  30. ^ "Church's Chicken sold to private equity firm". San Antonio Business Journal. American City Business Journals. 10 August 2009. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  31. ^ "Private Equity Firm to Seek Sale of Church's Chicken". Bloomberg.com. 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  32. ^ "Church's Chicken reportedly on the market for $350M". Restaurant Dive. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  33. ^ Kelso, Alicia (2 August 2021). "Church's Chicken Acquired By Investment Firm High Bluff Capital Partners". Forbes. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  34. ^ Hogan, David G. (1997). Selling 'em by the Sack: White Castle and the Creation of American Food. New York University Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780814735671. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  35. ^ Lorinc, John (1995). Opportunity knocks: the truth about Canada's franchise industry. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-455693-3. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  36. ^ "Menu". Church's Chicken. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  37. ^ "Church's Offers Garlic Butter Shrimp, Fish, and Tenders Plus Garlic Butter Packets for Limited Time". Brand Eating. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  38. ^ "Seasonal Seafood Menu Returns to Church's Chicken with More Choices Than Ever Before". RestaurantNews.com. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  39. ^ "Church's Extends Beverage Agreement with Coca-Cola". QSR. January 24, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  40. ^ "Church's Chicken Names Performance Food Group Company (PFG) as Exclusive Distributor". RestaurantNews.com. April 15, 2021. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  41. ^ "US Chess Federation". Archived from the original on January 1, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  42. ^ "Church's Chicken and Church's Partners Foundation Celebrate the Spirit of Giving with Las Vegas Scholarship Event". RestaurantNews.com. November 30, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  43. ^ "Church's Chicken® Distributes More Than $200,000 In Student Scholarships Throughout The U.S." Hispanic Outlook on Education. August 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  44. ^ "No Kid Hungry Partner Church's Chicken Helping End Child Hunger". Church's Chicken. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  45. ^ Mills, Kylen (November 3, 2015). "Church's Chicken locations close down after failing to pay sales taxes". KOKH. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  46. ^ Bailey, Brianna (November 3, 2015). "Tax Commission closes Church's Chicken restaurants in Oklahoma City, Tulsa". The Oklahoman. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  47. ^ Kovacs, Eduard (November 25, 2019). "Church's Chicken Restaurants Hit by Payment Card Breach". Security Week. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  48. ^ Cobble, Sarah (November 22, 2019). "Church's Chicken Warns of Possible Data Breach". Infosecurity Magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  49. ^ Maurer, Mark; Trentmann, Nina (July 29, 2020). "Fast-Food Chains See Shifts Made During Pandemic Paying Off". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  50. ^ "Health and Safety Updates – COVID-19". Church's Chicken. Archived from the original on June 8, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  51. ^ Shaffer, Erica (March 31, 2020). "Church's Chicken announces franchisee relief plan". meatpoultry.com. Atlanta. Retrieved June 8, 2021.

External links[edit]