Chick-fil-A has established a distinctive approach to business that the company believes has contributed to its success. The foundation of Chick-fil-A’s business was built upon a recipe that was carefully crafted by its founder, restaurateur Truett Cathy. After experimenting with hundreds of different methods, he discovered a faster way to cook boneless chicken using a pressure cooker and peanut oil. The original chicken sandwich that he created remains unchanged since its inception in 1967 and consists of a breaded chicken breast, two pickles, and a buttered toasted bun.
Chick-fil-A has always been proud of its commitment to offering high-quality products and its name is a reflection of that promise. The name “Chick-fil-A” is a play on words, with “filet” being pronounced as “fill-A” to emphasize the top-quality of the product. Unlike other fast food chains that tend to constantly expand their menu offerings, Chick-fil-A has always maintained a small and focused menu centered around chicken sandwiches. The company believes in keeping things simple, allowing customers to easily understand what is available and make their selections with ease.
Chick-fil-A has been the reigning champion in customer satisfaction since the inception of the American Customer Satisfaction Index in 2015. Despite slow drive-thru service, customers seem to be overwhelmingly happy with the quality of the food and the service provided by the fast food chain.
To further enhance customer satisfaction, many Chick-fil-A restaurants have adopted the practice of upstream ordering. In this process, a staff member takes the customer’s order while they are still waiting in line. This practice, which started prior to the pandemic, has become increasingly important as a result of the pandemic as many dining rooms have been closed. Drive-thru sales have become the primary source of revenue for Chick-fil-A, and as a result, customers are now more likely to encounter staff members taking orders directly through tablets in the drive-thru. This eliminates the need for customers to mumble their orders into a speaker box and instead allows them to directly communicate with the staff member.
Chick-Fil-A’s unique hand-picking operators, lowering of start-up costs, and the unmatched success
Chick-fil-A operates differently from most other fast food chains in terms of ensuring quality in all of its locations. Unlike other chains where the franchisee incurs most of the expenses for opening a restaurant, Chick-fil-A owns all of its locations. The company is responsible for selecting the location and constructing the restaurant. Chick-fil-A doesn’t seek financial investors or individuals who want to open a large number of stores, as stated on their website.
The franchisees of Chick-fil-A are referred to as operators and are hand-picked by the company through a rigorous interview process. The process of becoming an operator is described as “like going to Harvard MBA,” as it can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months. Out of the over 8,000 applicants the company receives each year, only around 130 new operators are selected, making the acceptance rate lower than Stanford. One of the skills that Chick-fil-A seeks in potential operators is someone who is skilled in developing people. This is because many of the stores have over 100 employees, and the operator must be skilled in leading and developing teams.
Chick-fil-A is a well-known fast food chain that has been making waves in the food industry for years. Known for its delicious food and hands-on approach, Chick-fil-A has been able to grow its footprint across the country and even into Canada. What sets Chick-fil-A apart from its competition is its low franchise investment cost. Unlike other fast food chains like McDonald’s, which requires a $45,000 franchise fee and millions of dollars in additional investments, Chick-fil-A franchisees only need an initial investment of $10,000.
This low investment cost is one of the reasons why Chick-fil-A has been able to attract so many franchisees. By having multiple locations, franchisees are able to have a strong market presence and get to know their team members and the communities they serve. This hands-on approach is one of the reasons why Chick-fil-A has been able to achieve such great success. On average, Chick-fil-A restaurants make far more money than their competition, which is a testament to the chain’s effective business model.
Since 2007, Chick-fil-A has nearly doubled its restaurant count, with a total of 2,598 restaurants throughout the country. While this may seem slow compared to other chains like Chipotle, which is opening 200 restaurants a year, Chick-fil-A’s growth is steady and sustainable.
Chick-fil-A deeply rooted values
The company is known for its close-knit culture and its values that are reflected in its day-to-day operations. The values are based on Judeo-Christian principles and while you don’t have to be a Christian to work there, these values such as humility and generosity are integrated into their operations. Employees are free to attend prayer services during work hours if they choose to.
The company’s founder, Truett Cathy, was a strong Christian, and this faith played a big role in shaping the company’s business strategy. This is why Chick-fil-A locations are closed on Sundays, allowing workers to attend church and rest. The company has never gone public and has grown conservatively without the need for extra investment.
The company’s values are also reflected in how employees are treated and how they are expected to treat customers. Chick-fil-A has long encouraged employees to greet customers warmly with a smile and a friendly interaction. Although masks may cover the employees’ faces, the company still expects them to show kindness and hospitality.
Beyond the delicious food, there is a deeper meaning to the Chick-fil-A brand, one that is centered around values, faith, and the belief in making a positive impact on those they interact with. The smile of a Chick-fil-A team member can say a lot, even in a small interaction. This simple gesture can make all the difference and shows that the company values the importance of building positive relationships with their guests.
While the company has faced some scrutiny in the past for its conservative values and the donations made by its foundation, the focus of their charitable giving has shifted in recent years to address issues such as homelessness, hunger, and education.
At the headquarters in Atlanta, there is a prominent rock display with a quote from Truett, the founder of Chick-fil-A, which sums up the company’s purpose. The quote reads, “To Glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” This quote perfectly captures the company’s noble sense of purpose and their belief in doing more than just serving chicken sandwiches.