Chick-fil-A gets a lot of things right. If you’ve everbeen to a Chick-fil-A restaurant, you know it’s different from other fast-food chains the second you walk through the doors. The restaurants are clean, the service is fast, and the food is some of the best you can get for your money and time.
How Chick-fil-A Began
Founded in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia, by S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A didn’t start out as the fast-food restaurant we know today. It wasn’t chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. Back then, it was called the Dwarf Grill, which later became The Dwarf House. In 1964, Cathy developed his first chicken sandwich, which led to the complete rebranding of his business. The Dwarf House was renamed Chick-fil-A in 1967.
Chick-fil-A quickly became one of the biggest restaurant chains in the United States, mostly because it did things differently. Cathy was known for his entrepreneurialism as well as his religious beliefs. As a Southern Baptist, his devotion to God and his church informed much of Cathy’s approach to business. That’s why all locations are closed on Sundays.
The Recipe For Success
Cathy maintained what he called a “5-step recipe for business success.” These were core values he applied with great success to his business ventures. Many entrepreneurs continue to practice these steps.
- Climb with care and confidence.
- Create a loyalty effect.
- Never lose a customer.
- Put principles and people ahead of profits.
- Close on Sundays.
The Chick-fil-A founder had many more secrets to success, such as avoiding personal debt and being kind. But these 5 were among his biggest and are still reflected in Chick-fil-A today. In many ways, much of the chain’s success can be attributed to these 5 steps. They are the reason the company has over 2,600 locations across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Simplicity is also a major part of Chick-fil-A’s business model. Unlike many other fast-food restaurants, Chick-fil-A keeps its menu straightforward. It rarely changes, and you won’t find any gimmicky sandwiches, seasonal experiments, or a rotating menu — except for a handful of seasonal milkshakes. You can visit any Chick-fil-A at any time and know what you’re going to get.
At every location, you’ll find the classic selection of chicken sandwiches, salads, milkshakes, and waffle potato fries — not to mention the sauces. On top of that, the chain’s ingredients are known for being exceptionally high quality. Everything that goes into its food is sourced from some of the best food producers in the industry. Chick-fil-A doesn’t spare any expense, but it still manages to keep its prices competitive.
Another defining feature of Chick-fil-A is customer service. In 2018, it ranked #1 among limited-service restaurants in the United States, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) annual survey.
Chick-fil-A ranked ahead of other restaurants like Panera Bread, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and Subway (the four that came in just behind the chicken chain). And why do customers rate Chick-fil-A so high? According to ACSI’s ranking data, customers love the clean restaurants, the quick food delivery, and the employee approachability.
Chick-fil-A upholds another important value that contributes to such high customer satisfaction: consistency. Every restaurant is the same as the next. It all comes down to the fact that they are almost all owned by the company itself.
According to Business Insider, they only accept 0.4% of franchisees. Those who seek to open a franchise are then only allowed to open a single location and cannot own any equity in the business. For many people, these policies aren’t much incentive to become a franchisee. But this is good news for customers. It means they can rely on that consistency no matter where they are.
And when you’re a customer looking to spend money with a business — or looking to spend more money with a business — consistency can go a long way. One of Cathy’s recipes for success was to never lose a customer, and on that front, Chick-fil-A isn’t playing with its food. It knows what people love, and you can be 100% sure it will deliver.