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Why Is Chick-Fil-A So Popular? (Top 10 Reasons)

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Chick-fil-A opened its first location in 1967 as the “home of the Original Chicken Sandwich” in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

Since then, the restaurant has opened franchises in 47 U.S. states and is one of the most profitable fast-food brands in the country.

Amid competition from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Popeye’s, and other popular fast-food chains, Chick-fil-A retains its popularity despite being closed on Sundays and not serving any beef-based products.

Chick-fil-A has managed to secure a spot as one of America’s most beloved chains due to its high-quality taste and experience available at a low price point.

Keep reading to see more reasons Chick-fil-A continues to be so popular.

1. Pleasant Dining Experience

Chicken Sandwich at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Columbus, GA.

Compared to its competition, Chick-fil-A keeps its restaurants extremely clean and well-stocked.

Team members are always cleaning the tables and floors, stocking the ketchup, and even ensuring the bathroom is well-kept.

Customers know they can go to a Chick-fil-A and expect a high-quality, clean dining experience—something that is even more important given the recent pandemic.

In addition to its dine-in experience, the chain’s drive-thru is also incredibly efficient.

Customers never wait more than a few minutes for their food and are always treated exceptionally by employees.

One of the most unique things about Chick-fil-A is its consistently top-rated customer service.

People rave about how kind the employees are, and that they always take orders with a smile and are willing to accommodate customers’ dietary restrictions and other needs.

Since many other fast-food chains offer low pay and poor working conditions, it is hard to come by such happy and kind employees.

Chick-fil-A stands out because of the exceptional customer service it provides even at such a low price point.

2. Great Taste And Reliable Quality

Two chicken sandwiches, waffles fries and salad on a red tray

Chick-fil-A is known for its exceptional chicken sandwich.

After all, it is called Chick-fil-A, and the chicken lives up to its name.

It also has a trademark Chick-fil-A sauce on its chicken sandwiches that cannot be found or replicated anywhere else.

Some people go to Chick-fil-A for the sauce alone.

The ingredients for the legendary chicken sandwich seem simple: fried chicken on a buttered bun with dill pickle chips.

There’s much more to it.

The seasoning, part of what makes it so special, was mastered by founder, Truett Cathy, when he opened his first restaurant.

That recipe is kept locked in a secret vault in Atlanta, Georgia.

The sauce is no secret, though.

It’s just a mixture of honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing.

One of the reasons fast-food chains, in general, are so popular is that they provide consistency.

A Chick-fil-A sandwich in California will taste the same as a Chick-fil-A sandwich in New Jersey.

Sometimes, people just want something they know they like.

There are franchises all over the country, and customers trust the brand to consistently deliver food with an amazing taste.

The brand has proven itself reliable at providing customers with flavors they know they love.

Chick-fil-A also has a secret menu that keeps customers excited to try new things.

Some of the secret menu items include a buffalo chicken sandwich, fried chicken club, grilled cheese, and much more—to ensure that you never get bored.

3. They Care About Their Employees

Chick-Fil-A fast food ordering counter

Chick-fil-A has been rated as America’s most beloved fast-food restaurant for many years.

This is partially due to the healthy employee relationships and company culture harvested in the restaurant.

Some franchises have been known to offer tuition reimbursement for their employees while encouraging them to pursue higher education or follow their career dreams.

This positivity in the workplace directly translates to the high-quality customer service experience that the employees provide.

There are lots of opportunities for employees to prove themselves and take on leadership positions that offer higher pay and more responsibilities.

Some of these positions include directors of marketing, cleanliness, kitchen operations, and drive-thru operations.

This motivation for management experience and higher wages keeps employees working hard.

Many franchises even offer certification courses in food management, conflict resolution, labor costs, and other areas that are resume-builders and build employee confidence.

It offers all courses in Spanish as well as English, to make these materials accessible to all.

Chick-fil-A does not pay much higher wages than its industry competitors.

It simply treats them better.

Franchisees are required to ask new hires what their career goals are, and then try to help them to achieve those goals.

One 20-year Chick-fil-A manager supported members of his team by contributing financially to one employee’s marketing degree and helping another to take photography classes.

He also helps employees’ families and friends when they are struggling.

This culture of support makes employees happy at work, thus generating positive customer service experiences, which translate to restaurant popularity.

4. Low Price Point

Man eating fries at a fast food restaurant.

One of the main things that draw customers to fast food is the low prices.

The famous Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich is only $3.05, or $5.95 to make it a combo.

All the entrées are below $9, with most ranging from $3 to $7.

This makes it possible for customers to feed themselves and their families for under $20 for a whole meal—well within the financial constraints for someone even below the poverty line.

This makes Chick-fil-A an attractive option for anyone looking to fill up on a good meal for a low price.

Chick-fil-A is also working to add healthier options to its menu while maintaining that same low-price standard.

This will make it easier for people to buy healthy options for less, thus offering the opportunity for low-income persons to achieve better health outcomes while drawing a different consumer base of people who want to eat healthy and can now do so at a fast-food restaurant.

5. Available Everywhere


One of the main reasons that Chick-fil-A is so popular is simply that it is available everywhere.

Airports, mall food courts, shopping centers, you name it—there’s bound to be a Chick-fil-A nearby.

There are more than 2,000 franchise locations in 47 states, with new ones opening every day.

The more Chick-fil-A becomes a standard at high-traffic locations, the more the brand will continue to increase in popularity.

The familiarity principle, the theory that being exposed to someone or something will increase someone’s affinity for it, rings true in the case of Chick-fil-A.

The trademark smell of fried chicken, the billboards of cows suggesting customers “eat mor chikin” and locations in most of the country, make it a renowned and trusted brand.

There are even talks that Chick-fil-A may open in other countries in the coming years, but that remains to be seen.

6. In-depth Training For Managers And Franchise Owners That Ensure Top Quality Operations

Chick-fil-A franchise

Readers hoping to open their own Chick-fil-A franchise beware—it is notoriously hard to get this gig.

This is part of what makes the company so successful.

It is not easy to get approved to “become an operator” of a Chick-fil-A because they must pass a lengthy pre-approval process consisting of a background check, interviews, resume review, and more.

In fact, the company receives about 20,000 franchise requests every year and only approves about 80.

Franchise owners are expected to have an extensive background in business leadership in the restaurant industry.

They must demonstrate successful management potential and not have any other ongoing business ventures.

Then, they must pass a multi-week training course.

Once approved, Chick-fil-A operators are continuously evaluated and must maintain specific quality standards and reach sales quotas.

A lot of work goes into opening and running a Chick-fil-A, and it is not an easy job.

Managers are not permitted to run multiple franchises and are warned on the website to not go into it for profit alone.

These obstacles to becoming a Chick-fil-A franchise owner and manager are part of what makes it so successful.

It ensures that managers have proven successful at owning restaurants and managing staff.

It also trusts that each manager’s sole focus is on their location, without the distraction of other business ventures.

Compared to other chain restaurants whose start-up costs can be up to two million dollars, Chick-fil-A only requires a $10,000 start-up cost.

The trade-off is this: flexibility.

Whereas some other restaurant franchises have the flexibility to customize their location’s décor, staff culture, or layout, the Chick-fil-A corporation retains 100% control over all its restaurants.

These high standards for management and synchronicity allow owners to keep high expectations of employees and restaurant cleanliness—all of which contribute to Chick-fil-A’s reliable brand and resultant customer loyalty.

7. Progressive Attitudes Towards Nutrition And Animal Welfare

Chick-fil-A restaurant and sign

To match the progressiveness of the times, Chick-fil-A pledged to provide fresh chicken, prepared in-house, consisting of whole breast meat with no antibiotics, trans fats, fillers, or added hormones.

It is hand-breaded at each location.

Fresh produce for salads is delivered multiple times a week and all foods are prepared to order.

The lemonade only consists of lemon juice, pure cane sugar, and water—no high-fructose corn syrup.

It also lists the caloric information and nutrition facts right on the menu, so customers know what they are putting in their bodies before they even order it.

The company prides itself on transparency.

The world is becoming more health-conscious, so this nutritional information is part of what makes Chick-fil-A so popular.

The restaurant chain offers several healthier options for people who do not want to ingest a lot of carbs or fried chicken.

For example, the Spicy Deluxe Sandwich also comes grilled for 380 calories per entrée.

Customers can opt for grilled chicken nuggets as well, for just 130 calories per entrée.

These healthy options come quickly and cheaply, just like their breaded and fried counterparts, which generates a more health-conscious customer base as tastes and priorities change.

All of the chicken comes from farms in the USA and is raised in accordance with the company’s Animal Wellbeing Standards—ensuring safe, clean conditions for the animals, unlike stereotypical factory farms that cage multiple animals together in a small area and are given hormones that their bodies cannot safely handle.

Chick-fil-A has made a promise to its consumers to raise its chickens completely cage-free within the next ten years.

Chick-fil-A recently established the Innovation Center where food scientists, dieticians, and chefs can work together to generate high-quality recipes that taste good and are good for you.

The company’s allegiance to the welfare of both customers and animals has increased Chick-fil-A’s popularity over the years as social justice and corporate responsibility become more integral to an organization’s success.

8. They Over-Deliver

Chick-Fil-A has organization in guiding vehicles into the drive thru line

One customer reported waiting in the drive-thru line for ten minutes.

When he finally reached the customer service window, the Chick-fil-a employee was so apologetic for the wait time that he offered the customer a free meal.

The customer service at Chick-fil-a is top-notch, and they abide by a “customer is always right” policy that keeps people coming back for more.

Who would turn down a free meal?

Another customer reported asking for six sides of Ranch dressing and getting ten instead.

It is this amazing customer service, that is so rarely seen at fast-food chains now, that makes Chick-fil-a truly stand out.

9. Fantastic Rewards Program And Mobile App

Chick-fil-A One of the brand’s rewards program that has continuously been rated as one of the best.

For every dollar spent at Chick-fil-A, customers earn ten points.

These points can be used towards a future Chick-fil-A meal.

Rewards are also available for customers’ birthdays, via bonus point challenges, and just because.

It is a tiered membership system, which includes different levels of membership: silver member, red member, and signature member.

Silver members earn 11 points for every dollar spent and can give points to friends and family.

Red members earn 12 points per dollar and can unlock exclusive rewards.

Signature members receive 13 points per dollar, participate in customer input opportunities, and have access to insider content and special events.

As members buy more Chick-fil-A and accumulate rewards, they can move up their tier status.

Unlike a lot of rewards programs, this one pays off, allowing customers to redeem their rewards moderately quickly.

For example, the hash browns or a chocolate chip cookie are only 150 points, which comes after spending $15 at a Chick-fil-A (for basic members).

This is easily attainable and keeps customers coming back for more.

The Chick-fil-A mobile app has also been a proven success.

It allows customers to order online for takeout, choose a favorite store, and log all their rewards.

It is a very simple and user-friendly interface.

Customers can see how many points they have and what they are eligible to redeem.

It also allows customers to use contactless payment through debit/credit card or PayPal, a highly sought-after feature in the age of the pandemic.

Customers can even click “I’m here” on the app to avoid long wait times.

10. Great Dessert Options As Well

Three fresh milkshakes, banana, strawberry and chocolate

Unlike other well-known fast-food chains (cough, cough, McDonald’s), the ice cream machine at Chick-fil-a is never “broken.”

It consistently dispenses quality soft serve.

They have expanded their dessert options over the years to include hand-spun milkshakes, Icedream® cones, chocolate chunk cookies, frosted lemonade, fruit, and more.

This makes Chick-fil-A a one-stop shop for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

The ability to go to a restaurant that almost always has a working ice cream machine cannot be underestimated.


Chick-fil-A is one of the fastest-growing food franchises in the United States, but the brand is not without controversy.

The founder comes from a religious Baptist background, whose values permeate the brand, such as being closed on Sunday to observe their faith.

The company faced outrage in 2012 when Dan Cathy, son of founder Truett Cathy, made remarks about the “biblical definition of a family” that seemed to pledge support to anti-LGBTQ activists.

Several reports later emerged of the company donating to various organizations that oppose gay marriage.

Since then, the franchise warned its employees against speaking out about social justice issues and politics, to avoid negative press.

David Farmer, vice president of menu strategy and development, said, “We are not a political organization. We are not a social change organization. We are a restaurant.”

This seems to have become the new company policy going forward, as the company realizes that its political views could anger some loyal customers.

Despite the company’s religious stance, customers overcome their political differences with the chain in pursuit of good fried chicken.

About Bryce Berman

Bryce is a freelance content writer and aspiring mental health nurse. She’s passionate about animals, travel and classic literature. Bryce is a graduate of Tulane University where she fell in love with New Orleans and writing. She does research and writing for podcasts, news outlets, videos, and more.



The story of signature service changed my life back in 1997 in Perry, Georgia while operating Chick-fil-A at Sam Nunn Boulevard FSR. When operating in a small town, you really get to know everyone and sometimes you have the pleasure of meeting and exceeding their expectations. I had the unexpected opportunity to get to know “Aunt Dot” Gentry. She would eat with me at 5:00pm every Thursday. Aunt Dot loved to reminisce about the days of eating at the Dwarf House when she worked for the State of Georgia. She loved to tell those stories as she was enjoying the original Chick-fil-A sandwich with fries, coleslaw and a slice of lemon pie. I would meet her every Thursday for three more years. Her nephew, Phil, told me one day that “Aunt Dot loves Chick-fil-A, but she especially likes eating with YOU.” She never told him she was going to eat at Chick-fil-A, but that she was going to eat at Doug’s. That statement really made the corporate purpose come to life.

Here we are in my 25th year as an Operator and 16th year as a multi-unit franchisee. I have been entrusted by these communities not only to provide a place of restoration for our guests, but to be an influencer in each community that Chick-fil-A, the Cathy family and God have placed me to serve with Signature Service.

История невероятно сложной для получения франшизы «Чик-фил-эй». От открытия до рекламы и скандалов

В статье расскажу про сеть ресторанов, которая не работает по воскресеньям и национальным праздникам, в меню которой присутствуют только блюда из курицы и опережающую по выручке рестораны Макдоналдс.

Приветствую. На связи Миша Кузьмин из salescontrol. По роду своей деятельности мы много работаем с франшизами. Мне стало интересно покопаться про франшизу, получить которую труднее чем поступить в Гугл или Стэнфорд.

На VC уже была статья про эту сеть, но в ней больше говорилось про экономику и франчайзинг. Я же решил осветить принципы и работу компании в целом: от меню и истории до рекламы и скандалов.

В конце статьи есть выводы и комментарии компаний из России: Додо Пиццы, Гриль №1 и Настоящей пекарни.

Наш герой — компания Chick-fil-a.

Первый ресторан был открыт 23 мая 1946 года под названием Dwarf Grill в Атланте, США. Это был традиционный ресторан с разнообразным меню. Ресторан, кстати, работает до сих пор под именем Dwarf House и предлагает меню оригинального ресторана.

Основатель сети Samuel Truett Cathy родился в 1921 году в штате Джорджия.

Сэмюэл Труэт Кэти был религиозен и принадлежал к Первой Баптистской Церкви Атланты, где преподавал по воскресеньям на протяжении 50 лет. Его мораль стала основой корпоративных ценностей самой сети: рестораны не работают по воскресеньям (в этот день проводится воскресная служба), на Рождество и день Благодарения. У Кэти было трое детей: Труди, Дон и Дэн, двое последних руководят компанией сегодня. Сэмюел Кэти умер в 2014 году в возрасте 93 лет, а его жена Джанет годом позже в 92 года.

«Прославлять Бога, будучи верным распорядителем всего, что нам доверено. Оказывать положительное влияние на всех, кто соприкасается с Chick-fil-A».

«У каждой жизни есть история, и часто нашим клиентам и нашим сотрудникам нужно немного милосердия когда вы имеете дело с ними, потому что у них либо уже есть проблема, либо она только что исчезла, либо вот-вот появится».

«Слово «ресторан» означает для меня место восстановления, и мы думаем о Chick-fil-A как оазисе, где люди могут восстановиться. Мы стремимся относиться к людям лучше, чем в любом другом аналогичном месте. Один из способов сделать это — помнить, что все мы люди, у которых происходит много эмоциональных вещей, которые не обязательно проявляются на поверхности, поэтому мы стараемся предлагать удобства и доброту, которые служат сердцу».

Эстафета. «Успех — это преемственность. Каждый должен подумать о том, кто будет нести эстафетную палочку после нас. В эстафете выигрывают не четверо самых быстрых бегунов, а та команда, которая первой донесет эстафетную палочку до финиша. Самый ужасный звук для бегуна — звук упавшей эстафетной палочки. То же самое и в бизнесе».

Кислородная маска. «На всякий случай сначала наденьте кислородную маску на себя. Лидеры должны заботиться о себе, если они хотят помочь другим быть на высоте».

Баночка с арахисовым маслом Джиф. «Когда вы открываете банку с арахисовым маслом Джиф, вы чувствуете чудесный аромат, как будто вы стоите на фабрике по производству арахисового масла. Этот свежий аромат подчеркивает, что нам нужно сосредоточиться на том, чтобы оставаться свежими в нашем мышлении. И чтобы оставаться свежими, нам придется делать некоторые нетрадиционные вещи».

Рулон туалетной бумаги. «Маленькие вещи могут иметь большое значение. Подумайте о туалетной бумаге в дорогом отеле и о том, как она всегда свернута для вас. Всегда приятно удивляешься, когда видишь такое. Создайте свой собственный репертуар маленьких сюрпризов».

Интересно, что ценности основателя и руководителя действительно передаются франчайзи и соответственно клиентам, которые поддерживают сеть уже более полувека.

На данный момент сеть насчитывает 2 836 точек. Что, конечно, мало по сравнению с такими гигантами как Макдональдс, Сабвей и т. д.

Малое количество ресторанов объясняется сложностью получения франшизы. Процент одобрения франчайзи составляет ≈0.2-0.25%. Для сравнения, шанс устроится в Гугл составляет около ≈0.23%, поступить в Гарвард 5%, а в Стэнфорд 5.2%.

Потенциальный франчайзи должен соответствовать ценностям компании. Система отбора основывается на трех пунктах: характер, компетентность и «химия». Пишут, что процесс отбора состоит из 10 этапов. К сожалению, этапы в открытом доступе я не нашел.

Если франчайзи хочет:

— инвестировать в ресторан для получения пассивного дохода;

— чтобы Чик-фил-эй открыла точку в определенном месте;

— открыть несколько точек сети;

то франшиза Чик-фил-эй не для него.

Так как сам основатель был набожным христианином, его принципы и этика передались и его компании, в чем вероятно и кроется секрет успеха. Каждый ресторан работает как маленькая семья. Большой акцент делается на поддержке и развитии тех людей, которые уже работают в ресторане. Процент текучки франчайзи за 50 лет — 4%. То есть те, кто когда-то стал работать под брендом Чик-фил-эй, работают до сих пор.

Отношение к людям. Сэмьюел Кэти обращал внимание как кандидат при визите обращается с администратором, от которого, как правило, не зависит принятие решений. В целом, позиционирование как самой сложной для получения франшизы уже привлекает огромное внимание потенциальных франчайзи, позволяя компании выбирать лучших.

Привел сравнение по стоимости открытия и роялти среди нескольких фаст фуд сетей в США.

При сопоставимой стоимости открытия с Макдональдсом ресторан Чик-фил-эй генерирует выручку в среднем в два раза больше: 5.3 млн $ против 2.7 млн $ (данные 2020 года).

Средняя чистая прибыль ресторана фаст фуда на рынке США составляет 5-10% от выручки и равна 120 тыс $. При этом франчайзи Чик-фил-эй зарабатывают на 15-20% больше — 150 тыс $.

Полная стоимость открытия ресторана Чик-фил-эй составляет от $265 тыс до $2 млн. Но франчайзи платит всего $10 тыс — комиссию за передачу франшизы. Связано это с тем, что все расходы по открытию нового ресторана (поиск места, покупка земли, помещения и оборудования) оплачивает управляющая компания. Фактически франчайзи не является владельцем ресторана, он просто становится арендатором. Чик-фил-эй разрешает только одну точку на одного франчайзи. Также у франчайзи не может быть франшиз других ресторанов.

Кому интересно прочитать подробнее про экономику франшизы Чик-фил-эй советую эту статью.

Франчайзи Чик фил эй зарабатывает больше. Франчайзи платит 15% роялти и 50% от чистой прибыли в управляющую компанию, и даже при этом в среднем зарабатывает на 15-20% больше чем владельцы других ресторанов в расчете на одну точку.

Достаточно быстро Кэти понял, что из первоначального ассортимента продукции самыми популярными были сэндвичи с курицей. Однако, они были дольше в приготовлении чем обычный гамбургер или картошка фри. Он экспериментировал с рецептом своих сэндвичей, пробуя разные специи и способы готовки, пока в 1961 году не нашел фритюрницу (pressure-fryer), которая работала по принципу давления пара с маслом, что позволило готовить сэндвич с курицей за то же время, что и стандартный гамбургер. После этого он сменил направление и переименовал ресторан в Чик-фил-эй и убрал из меню другие виды мяса.

В будущем компания будет не раз строить рекламную стратегию именно на идее отказа от говядины в пользу курицы.

Сегодня меню Чик-фил-эй состоит только из курицы.

Позиционирование на невероятном клиентском сервисе и блюдах из курицы выгодно отличает эту сеть от множества других в США, позволяя понятно и просто доносить свои ценности потребителям.

Первую рекламную компанию Чик-фил-эй запустила в 1995 году через 49 лет после основания и она сразу стала вирусной и популярной.

Концепция рекламной кампании заключалась в слогане «Eat Mor Chikin», где были изображены три коровы, которые держат таблички с надписью «Ешьте больше курицы». Реклама быстро стала узнаваемой и стала «лицом» ресторанов сети.

В 2014 году Чик-фил-эй даже выпустила календарь с рекламой, стартовавшей в 1995 году.

The Rise of Chick-fil-A

Startup Sapience

Chick-fil-A grew to be one of the largest restaurant chains in America, operating over 2,300 restaurants and generating over 10 billion dollars in annual revenue. Let’s take a look at how they grew into such a big chain.

We can trace the firm’s beginnings back to 1946 when Truett Cathy opened a diner in Hapeville, Atlanta. The diner was so small that he called the restaurant Dwarf Grill, which was later named Dwarf House. It was not until 1961, when Cathy found a way to cook the chicken sandwich in the same amount of time it took to cook a hamburger that the business took off. Cathy basically invented the boneless chicken sandwich.

After perfecting the chicken recipe, Cathy rebranded to Chick-fil-A in 1967 when he opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in a food court in Atlanta. Their name was re-designed to be a play on chicken fillet. The capital A represents the top-quality chicken used in the sandwiches. The chain’s slogan reflects their origins: “We Didn’t Invent the Chicken, Just the Chicken Sandwich”.

During the 70s and 80s, the chain’s strategy was to expand in suburban mall’s food courts. Their food court concept allowed the restaurant to use space efficiently. Chick-fil-A moved outside of the mall food court in 1986, opening its first free standing restaurant on North Druid Hills Road in Atlanta. Since then, the company began to focus more on this stand-alone type unit in suburban areas.

The chain opened its first drive-thru only restaurant in 1993 in Greenville, South Carolina. They then ventured out of the U.S. in 1994 when they opened a restaurant in the University of Alberta, which was subsequently closed after three years. They later tried their luck at Calgary’s airport in 2014, which then closed in 2019. They also attempted to expand in South Africa in 1996 and 1997 but closed shop in 2001.

In 1995, the chain introduced a billboard ad that showed cows writing the message ‘Eat mor Chikin’. The message they were trying to get across was to eat more chicken instead of cows. The message somehow resonated with a lot people. The campaign was so successful that they stuck with it for many years. The cows’ message ended up being placed on TV, radio, buildings and even calendars. Actually, before the cows came in the picture, the chicken that is featured in their logo was the chain’s mascot, Doodles.

The chain has been the sponsor of the Peach Bowl, an annual college football bowl game, since 1997. They are also a key sponsor of the NCAA Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conference Football. More recently, Chick-fil-A has signed a multiyear deal with Little League designating the chain as the official Quick Serve Restaurant of Little League Baseball and Softball.

In 2003, the chain gained tremendous traction when it announced the opening of a new store in Arizona. The ad stated that the first 100 to enter its doors would get a free combo meal every week for a year. They even threw an opening day carnival that featured karaoke, free ice cream and prize raffles. The first 100 ad was so successful that is now held at the opening of every new Chick-fil-A restaurant. But underneath of all that lied a simple business strategy. They had a simple menu that remained committed to chicken sandwiches and they strive to provide an irreproachable customer service.

It is also important to note that Cathy built the company around his religious beliefs. The corporate purpose states the business exists “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us”. All Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed for business on Sundays, as well as on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The only times they broke their tradition to open on a Sunday were to prepare meals for stranded passengers at an airport in Atlanta and to honor a birthday wish for a boy with cerebral palsy. Cathy’s faith-based entrepreneurialism was one of the factors that made it successful.

Now let’s talk about their interesting franchise system. The chain actually builds and retains ownership of each restaurant. Franchisees only need to shell $10,000 to become an operator, although they pay a higher royalty fee. Because of the relative attractive economics, applications for becoming an operator are above tens of thousands per year. Their acceptance rate is less than 1%. To put that into perspective, Harvard’s acceptance rate is 4.5%. Each operator undergoes a rigorous training program. All of these factors enabled Chick-fil-A to attain 2 billion dollars in revenue in 2006. They even became the first fast-food chain to become completely trans-fat free.

The chain is overprotective of its intellectual property. They sent cease and desist letters to those who were using the “eat more” phrase. They claimed that it would create confusion and dilute the brand’s identity. In 2011, they sent a cease and desist letter to a Vermont-based artist who sold T-shirts that had “Eat More Kale” printed on them. However, the artist later trademarked his “Eat More Kale” phrase, at which point Chick-fil-A backed down.

Their religious beliefs that helped build the brand was a double-edged sword. In 2012, the CEO of the chain made negative comments on same-sex marriage that led to a number of boycotts that stalled the chain’s expansion. They opened a location in Edinburg in 2018 and one in Reading in 2019. But that Reading store closed down after their lease was not renewed amid protests over Chick-fil-A anti-LGBTQ stance. Their store in Scotland closed in 2020 for the same reason. The chain subsequently reversed their stance on the matter and actually redeemed themselves on social media.

I had hopes that the chain would go public. But Cathy required his children to sign contracts that stated the company should remain private. Do you regularly visit Chick-fil-A? What makes them unique? Would you want to become an operator of one? As always, let us know what you think.

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