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Experts Project Huge Things for Chick-fil-A: 'This Goes Beyond McDonald's'

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Despite heavy criticism from gay activists, fast food chain Chick-fil-A is projected to become the third-largest restaurant chain in the U.S., according to research from Kalinowski Equity Research.

The fast-food chicken chain will rise from its No. 7 spot to rank as the third-largest U.S. restaurant chain by the end of the year, according to the group‘s research, Business Insider reported Monday.

“We have long pointed out that Chick-fil-A is the restaurant competitor with which McDonald’s … should most concern itself — and by extension, investors should, too,” analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in his report.

“But this goes beyond McDonald’s,” Kalinowski noted.

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Kalinowski previously predicted the chain would assume the third-place spot in sales by 2020, but changed his forecast to 2019 earlier this year, Business Insider reported.

According to Kalinowski’s analysis, Chick-fil-A’s sales will have risen between 12 and 15 percent by the end of 2018, amounting to a more than $1 billion increase in sales in 2018.

Chick-fil-A sales increased by 14.2 percent in 2017, Restaurant Business reported.

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McDonald’s and Starbucks claim the No. 1 and No. 2 spots for restaurant chain sales in the U.S., respectively.

Subway ranks third, followed by Taco Bell, Burger King and Wendy’s, according to Business Insider.

“If this plays out this way, Chick-fil-A’s 2018 U.S. systemwide sales would easily surpass those of Burger King and Wendy’s,” Kalinowski wrote in his report.

The chain has faced a number of hurdles largely related to its religious affiliation and historical position on gay marriage.

Last month, Rider University refused to bring Chick-fil-A to its campus despite being students’ No. 1 choice, citing unprogressive “corporate values.”

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Other groups, including the Pittsburgh school board, have boycotted the chain for what they allege are its “hateful beliefs.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized in June for eating Chick-fil-A, citing Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s 2012 comment that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Despite criticisms, Chick-fil-A ranked as the No. 1 fast food restaurant in customer service for the third year in a row in July.

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