Belchicken has lofty European ambitions: the Belgian fast-food player is opening branches in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
Since 2019, Belchicken has expanded to 48 locations in Belgium: that is a lot more than the provisional 18 branches of major international rival KFC or the fourteen of Turkish competitor Chitir Chicken, which has been operating the country since 2016.
CEO Fevzi Yildirim sees the potential and wants to enter Europe quickly, he tells Belgian newspaper De Tijd: “By 2025, we want to have 300 restaurants. We have four branches in Germany and there are two in the pipeline. In France, we are going from one to two restaurants. From next year, we want to open branches in the Netherlands, Austria, Spain and Italy.”
Speed is crucial, the CEO says: in Europe, fried chicken is still nowhere near as popular as in the United States, but interest is growing. “If we do not fill the gap, our competitors will”, he says. Belchicken’s success is partly due to its somewhat broader offering, which includes burgers, salads and vegetarian dishes alongside classic fried chicken.
Like its competitors, Belchicken’s restaurants are operated by independent entrepreneurs. All restaurants are profitable: the company guarantees its franchisees an EBITDA margin between 13 and 20 %. Last year, the chain’s turnover grew 70 % to 42 million euros.