Chick-Fil-What? The Fast-Food Chain That’s On Top

No, it’s not McDonalds. Though this fast-food behemoth that started in 1940 with one restaurant and has morphed into 36,000 global fast-food operations is still number one in terms of revenue and brand value (hard to beat those golden arches), there is another company that is giving them a run for their money and eclipsing them in relation to sales per restaurant. And that restaurant is Chick-fil-A.

The Statistics

Compare this to Chick-fil-A’s 2,100 restaurants, none of which are open on Sunday, and you start to wonder if the buying-public hasn’t gone a little stark raving mad. After all, McDonalds has taken the bull by the horn, so to speak, and instituted needed changes in order to make a comeback from their previous year’s falling sales. They’ve partnered with UberEATS and are now offering a delivery service from thousands of their stores. Other franchises are instituting touch-screen kiosks and partial table service. And they are offering to help most of their franchisees get this new-and-improved McDonalds in place by 2020. So why is Chick-fil-A reporting over $4 million in sales per unit while McDonalds is falling into second place at a mere $2.5 million? Some point to Chick-fil-A’s customer service.

How Chick-fil-A is Beating Out its Competitors

According to a Consumer Report’s survey, Chick-fil-A made the number one spot in terms of the best, and exceptionally polite, service. One would think that franchisees must be incentivizing their employees with higher-than-average wages but, au contraire, they’re right up there with the industry average.

A recent review by an employee in Glassdoor stated the following, “Not the best wage of where I have worked, but certainly prepares you well for any other job.” Ah-ha. Take a look at other reviews and you’ll find similar observations such as great work environment, feeling like a member of the team, and unprecedented customer service training.

Happiness Counts

According to a study conducted at the University of Warwick, happy staff showed a 12 percent increase in productivity compared with unhappy staff that showed 10 percent less in productivity. Professor Oswald, one of the economists who led the research, noted, “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37 percent.”

Chick-fil-A’s Strategy

Chick-fil-A prides itself on having a strong training program in place. They even run simulations using actors in order to give their employees direct experience with various customer service challenges. They have a designated new employee onboarding process in place to ensure that new hires don’t fall through the cracks and crevices of a busy franchise.

They value their employees and make sure that their employees know it. This comes through with perks such as tuition assistance, finding out what employee’s career goals are and then putting in place systems to help them achieve their dreams (whether or not in the food industry), and providing funds for extra training in areas such as conflict management and managing restaurant benchmarks.

Chick-fil-A’s strategy really boils down to one core philosophy and that is caring about their employees. Consider various programs that you, as a restaurateur, could put in place that would let your employees know that you care about them, and you too good see that remarkable increase in satisfied employees that Google encountered when they showed they cared.

Here’s one more statistic to consider: The turnover rate in hospitality jobs topped 70 percent in 2016. To find, hire, and train an employee can cost in upwards of 20 percent of their yearly salary. And, most importantly, as evidenced by Chick-fil-A’s success, happy employees lead to happy customers.


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