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sandwich to be sold by the chain nationwide. The sandwich enjoyed an “inexplicablyinescapable”success as the “TickleMe Elmo of sandwiches,”61and the sandwich sold out two weeks after its launch. A “chicken sandwich” war ensued on Twitter and other social media.62September 2019 On September 6, 2019, Chick-fil-A opened its first franchisee-owned, full-service international location, in Toronto, with plans to open at least 15 more restaurants in the Toronto area by 2024.63However, there was no poutine (a local food staple) on the menu, a sign that Chick-fil-A was staying true to its successful and standardised US formula and not seeking local adaptation when venturing abroad. At the same time, McDonald’s launched a “SpicyBBQ Chicken Sandwich”64to compete with Chick-fil-A in the United States. October 2019 Two months after Popeyes’ “biggest product launch in the last 30 years,” the company’s highly sought- after spicy chicken sandwich was once again available in its stores.65This was a clear sign that Popeyes was not given up easily; the chicken sandwich war was raging. November 2019 The popularity of Popeyes’new spicy chicken sandwich turned tragic when a 28-year-old man was stabbed to death in Maryland after a fight over the restaurant’s newoffering.66Chick-fil-A continued its September 2019 Canada expansion with another international launch on the other side of the Atlantic, in the UK, two months later.67This synchronised plan was not going as smoothly as expected, something that the chain had experienced in the past. INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION Chick-fil-A had previously flirted with a couple of small, unsuccessful Canadian operations at the University of Alberta in the 1990s and at Calgary International Airport in 2014, which offered a limited menu. Similar limited-service restaurants had also operated in South Africa since 1996.68Chick-fil-A also unsuccessfully tested the market in Lyon, France in 2015, in a bid to enter the European Union.69In late 2019, however, Chick-fil-A launched a bold new international expansion, opening two large, full-service restaurants in Toronto, Canada, and Reading, England, within a month of each other and announcing plans for an additional 15 Canadian stores. Chick-fil-A, known for its high-quality customer service, food quality, and innovative franchise model, was hoping to extend these assets across borders in order to expand internationally.
Page 6 9B20M046 Chick-fil-A’s Torontorestaurant could seat 70 people. Moreover, Canadian franchisee costs were only CAD $15,000,70compared to CAD $100,000–$300,000 for many other franchises, and they created “50to 75 new jobs per location.”71This investment in the local community, using a unique business model, was a way for Chick-fil-A to demonstrate its positive intentions and to gain acceptance outside the US. Protests in Toronto Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A’s president and chief operating officer, stated in an interview that Toronto was the best city to kick off the company’sCanadian expansion: “It’sa global city. It has so many different ethnic groups. Toronto really represents the globe. We feel like it’s a great learning ground for us.”