What is the Fastest Growing Chicken Chain?

Fastest Growing Chicken Chain

Pollo Campero, the Central American chicken chain, is taking the market by storm.

Franchising in the U.S. has proven to be a lucrative business model, fit for both green entrepreneurs and those looking to expand their investment profiles with the support of an established business. Within the franchising space, chicken concepts have risen to the top as sustainable, in-demand and often quick-growing concepts. For example, it was announced earlier this year that a fast-growing chicken-wing restaurant chain plans to see impressive growth, breaking into 14 new states as it expands.

Investors seeking a place in the chicken franchise space have many factors to consider when choosing their final investment, and often, the size and rate of growth of a concept are key indicators of a brand’s potential success.

With proper franchisee support, strong operations and intentional growth, chicken franchises are well-positioned to take advantage of ever-growing demand in markets around the world while maintaining a happy, healthy franchise system. Many of the chains that have climbed the ranks in the chicken restaurant world have done just this, providing ample attention to both local owners and consumer demand as they work to increase their footprints.

Leading Chicken Chains in the US 2023

Chicken chains continue to grow, and many legacy brands have secured their spots as leaders in the market. Here is what you need to know about the top eight chicken chains in the U.S. in 2023.


Founded decades ago, KFC is the Kentucky-based fried chicken concept. The restaurant became famous thanks to its unique blend of 11 herbs and spices used in the fried chicken recipe, creating a distinct flavor only available at KFC. While it is known for its fried chicken, KFC offers the chicken in a variety of meal options, including buckets, sandwiches and wraps. As it has grown, the franchise has evolved to include more chicken dishes and side selections on its menu to broaden its offerings.

As of 2021, KFC had nearly 4,000 restaurants open across the U.S. and even more around the world. With a global presence, strong brand identity in Colonel Sanders and consistent marketing efforts, KFC has become a significant player in the fried chicken franchise space.


Best known for its flavorful offerings, Popeyes, or Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, is a Cajun-style chicken restaurant that focuses primarily on fried chicken. With chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches and bone-in fried chicken, the franchise has a range of offerings, and the menu is only expanded by its various sides and add-ons, including red beans and rice, Cajun fries, mashed potatoes and biscuits.

With 2,754 operating restaurants as of 2021, Popeyes is a major player in the chicken space. Though it is seen as a Southern-style restaurant, Popeyes has grown to be in multiple countries worldwide.


Chick-fil-A is a chicken-based restaurant that has built a strong brand identity with the help of its pro-chicken-consumption cow mascots, consistent customer service and system-wide Sunday closures. While Chick-fil-A offers a great guest experience with prime operations and friendly employees, franchise owners benefit from the reputation that these unit-level practices have built.

In 2021, Chick-fil-A had 2,704 open locations. Though the brand offers franchise opportunities to help drive expansion, the process is incredibly selective, and owners are only allowed to open a single location, as they are expected to be present for day-to-day operations alongside unit-level employees.


Wingstop is a chicken wing restaurant that had over 1,500 locations open as of 2021. Though the brand focuses intently on chicken wings, it introduces variety into the menu through sauces and seasonings that allow guests to fully customize their meals.

Though Wingstop focused specifically on dine-in service at its foundation, the brand has expanded to offer carry-out and delivery options to keep up with an evolving landscape.


With 910 locations as of 2021, Zaxby’s is a chicken restaurant concept that offers chicken fingers, sandwiches, wings and salads — known as Zalads — as well as a range of sides and appetizers. Zaxby’s also offers a range of dipping sauces to further customize its chicken for each guest’s taste. 

Like many similar concepts, Zaxby’s has evolved over the years, embracing takeout and delivery options in addition to creative advertising and the rollout of a mobile app, to continue to keep up with changing consumer demand.

Church’s Chicken

Another concept that has established itself as a leader in the chicken restaurant space, Church’s Chicken is a fast-food chicken restaurant that serves Southern-inspired comfort foods. With nearly 900 open locations in 2021, the brand demonstrated a strong growth trajectory over the past few decades.

While Church’s Chicken offers its chicken in pieces, tenders and sandwiches, the common denominator is a crispy fried coating.


With 773 restaurants open in 2021, Bojangles is another key competitor in the chicken restaurant space. In addition to its Southern-style fried chicken, Bojangles stands out thanks to its made-from-scratch biscuits. Bojangles serves bone-in chicken, tenders and sandwiches and sometimes incorporates its signature biscuits into its chicken meal offerings as a side or part of a sandwich.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Also known as simply “Raising Cane’s” or “Cane’s,” this chicken finger restaurant has built a strong network on a simple, focused menu. With 567 units in 2021, Cane’s is not the largest player in the market but certainly has a substantial following. With its “One Love” approach to business, Cane’s focuses on doing one thing — chicken fingers — and doing it well.

Cane’s compliments its hand-breaded chicken fingers with a range of sauces, including its Cane’s Sauce, Texas toast, crinkle-cut fries and coleslaw.

A large franchise system is a testament to the success of a brand to an extent. However, franchises cannot be judged solely based on how long they have been open and how many units they have managed to open. Rather, prospective owners should consider some of the following factors in addition to footprint and name recognition:

  • What do recent growth trends show? Has the brand gone stagnant in the modern market?
  • How much does this brand’s menu stand out? Does the menu lend itself to continued evolution or chicken meals that are easily differentiated from the others?
  • What does franchisee support look like at this franchise? Will I continue to be supported even as the franchisor focuses on development efforts? Are there systems in place to ensure each franchisee receives the support they need even as the system grows?

Pollo Campero, the fastest-growing global chicken franchise, offers attractive solutions to these concerns in addition to its already-strong business model.

About Pollo Campero

If you’re looking for an investment with the fastest-growing chicken chain, look no further than Pollo Campero. Though the brand has not yet reached the footprint size of major chains like KFC or Zaxby’s, it has an impressive franchise expansion plan as it takes the U.S. by storm. With international locations and a loyal Central American fan base, Pollo Campero has widespread brand awareness and is positively received when it enters new markets.


Pollo Campero has driven its incredible growth by continuing to provide standout offerings to both its guests and franchisees.


For guests, Pollo Campero’s signature recipe, first developed in a family-owned restaurant in Guatemala, provides a flavor like no other. Whether a chicken meal is ordered Campero Fried or Citrus Grilled, guests can expect their chicken to be thoroughly marinated, juicy and flavorful to the bone. Whether it’s a new guest experiencing Pollo Campero for the first time or a legacy customer who will follow the brand wherever it goes, diners love the Campero way.


Franchisees can take advantage of this unique offering and the powerful franchisor that stands behind it as they work to grow a meaningful business in their own community. Franchisees who open a Pollo Campero have access to initial training that covers technology, quality products and the demands associated with running a restaurant business that prepares them for opening day. After this, they can interact with specialists at the Dallas, Texas-based Support Center for additional guidance to achieve their personal goals, better understand the financial aspects of the business and even promote unit-level consistency in operations. With this education and support system in place, Pollo Campero ensures that local operators can maintain a successful business as the entire system pursues exponential growth.


As it expands, Pollo Campero is looking to develop markets in Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Utah, Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee. Find more information about how Pollo Campero has become the fastest-growing chicken chain and its plans for the future {{ insert next article to read }} .