One Year After Becoming CEO, Joe Christina Delivers Turnaround Results for Storied Brand
Atlanta, GA (RestaurantNews.com) 2017 was a milestone year for Church’s Chicken® celebrating its 65th year anniversary and its first year under the leadership of Joe Christina, the company’s newest Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership, the 65-year-old brand and fourth-largest chicken quick service restaurant in the world has been re-energized and on a mission to be the global quick-service restaurant team that best understands and satisfies its guests.
Christina’s vision since taking the helm last year has been straight-forward – to become the global franchisor of choice. So far, not only has the CEO outlined a clear path for reaching this goal, but he has also been able to steadily deliver measurable results along the way.
“As a brand, Church’s finished the 2017 year with positive global sales for the first time in three years,” said Christina. “That’s a huge step forward from where we’ve been, and proof that we’re moving in the right direction for our employees and leadership teams across the country, and especially our restaurants teams and the guests they serve. It’s a statement of what can be achieved when we work together for a common purpose.”
Other milestones Christina has spearheaded during his 12-month tenure are:
- a thorough restructure of the corporate leadership team
- improved communication and relationships with franchisees and employees
- reduced costs for restaurant remodel packages
- signed domestic multi-restaurant development agreements
- more favorable supply and distribution contracts
- refinanced company debt to free up capital for investment
- responded to storm-ravaged communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico
- enhanced real-time monitoring and accountability for purchasing and supply chain initiatives
- global sales increases and restaurant growth supported by clear short-term and sustainable long-term strategies
Christina has also established a number of business guidelines for directing the brand’s activities and keeping track of progress over time so that results continue to build upon one another.
While he aimed to reverse negative sales trends, Christina says the greater outcome has been a more cohesive restaurant network poised to leverage its historic strengths of excellent quality chicken, unique side items, and market-leading value. “A renewed spirit of confidence has returned to the brand, reinforcing Church’s purpose—to make great chicken experiences guests love,” he notes. Christina also aimed at implementing a robust organizational alignment, globally, to best support and deliver on its 3-Year Plan with a clear and focused approach on one of their strategic goals— develop winning teams.
“I believe we’re making significant headway on our goals, thanks in large part to more internal transparency, two-way communication, sharing and embracing a clear direction and our common purpose throughout the system,” Christina says. “I’m confident that our committed approach to pursuing growth and results through respectful, forward-thinking dialogue has been key to strengthening our relationships and our performance.”
Through better prioritization, the Company has made dollars-and-cents improvements and experienced leaner, more streamlined operations, system-wide, Church’s is also reinvesting in what has long been a core focus of the brand – the communities it serves. During 2017, Christina played an integral role in helping expand existing community programs like Dine Out for No Kid Hungry and the Church’s Scholars program, which awards $1,000 college scholarships to deserving high school seniors. He was actively involved in the brand’s response to post-hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia –rolling up his sleeves alongside restaurant staff to serve hungry guests at a “Pay What You Can” fundraiser following Hurricane Harvey. His willingness to truly lead by example holds important meaning to all Church’s stakeholders. For a system that currently consists of 9,000 team members worldwide and 240 franchisees across the U.S., Canada, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions, Christina knows that progress must continue to be demonstrated along the way.
“I’ve been deeply honored by the faith that our teams have shown in the Church’s brand during my first year,” Christina says. “I sincerely hope that over these past several months, I’ve demonstrated my own commitment to building relationships and our collective opportunities for success.”
About Church’s Chicken®
Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken® is one of the largest quick service restaurant chicken chains in the world. Church’s® specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, sandwiches, honey-butter biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Church’s® (along with its sister brand Texas Chicken® outside the Americas) has more than 1,650 locations in 27 countries and international territories and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion. For more information, visit www.churchs.com. Follow Church’s® on Facebook at www.facebook.com/churchschicken and Twitter at www.twitter.com/churchschicken.