More Than Lip Service

Chickens don’t have lips, we all know that (at least I think that’s so).  But walk into any Chick-fil-a restaurant and you’ll quickly realize these chickens aren’t just flapping their gums when it comes to the customer experience.

Chick-fil-a has set the bar for customer experience that transcends its fast food category.  I have two small kids.  And, my wife and I vowed before the first that they would never eat fast food.  If you read my last post, you’ll know I’m kind of a health freak.  So, I don’t touch the stuff.  And we wanted to set that example for our kids.  Well, needless to say, that lofty goal has since gone out the window.  But, if it wasn’t for these crazy cows, our kids might still be fast-food free.  Because, this is the only such place we’ll take them. 

Beside the menu selection that is well balanced between the fried stuff and healthier alternatives, the company focuses on delivering a consistently enjoyable family-friendly experience time after time.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Every store I’ve been in has been by far the cleanest such joint in all aspects (yes, I even checked out all the bathrooms)
  • “My Pleasure” – the two most powerful words in customer service.  Every employee uses them, often and with sincerity.
  • If you eat in the restaurant, they bring your food to your table!
  • A focus on the community.  My local store has a calendar of family events that add to the family vibe.  Just check out the website to see the importance of the community at the corporate level
  • A corporate commitment to childhood education
  • Managers come by my table to ask how things are going more often than at a lot of higher-end places I’ve eaten
  • And not that I’m religious, but its kind of refreshing in a throw back kind of way that every store is closed on Sundays

None of this comes cheaply, however.  If you’ve been to a Chick-fil-a, you know their prices are on the high end of the scale for fast food.  While you won’t find any Dollar Menu or Five Dollar whatever, I assume the company has made a strategic choice to differentiate itself on the experience; recognizing that there is a consumer segment, even in fast food, that will pay for that experience.  Count me as one of them. 

Comments

  1. Glad you're a Chick-fil-A fan too! Although CFA is on the high-end of the fast food (or "quick service") business and closes on Sundays, it continues to expand and turn profits. Clearly a testament to how all around customer service can make a difference.

    Eat more chicken indeed!

  2. Thanks for stopping by Eugene. I wrote a post a few weeks ago comparing companies that consistently rank high in customer sat and return on equity. CFA is another example that should scream to CEOs that a focus on employee loyalty and customer satisfaction is good business…and not just when markets are up; trading that in for slash and burn cost cutting when markets turn south. In that comparison, it showed Southewest Airlines ROW outstripping many companies in more enviable industry verticals. So, if SWA can do it, it seems like a no brainer…Thanks again for stopping by. Nugget, anyone?

  3. Once again, I have relocated to a market with little to no presence of the Chik!

    For many reasons, this is one of my favorite fast food joints. Pickles on every sandwich (and no annoyed look when you ask for extras…lookin' at you, McDemon), perfectly prepared waffle fries, and REAL sweet tea at every location whether you're in Tyler, TX or Doylestown, PA.

    Religious cynic that I am, I always appreciated and respected the way in which the company addressed their Sunday policy: "We're closed on Sunday for a very special reason" … concise, sets a clear expectation, but no Ask Me About Jesus buttons, either.

    Oh, and who doesn't love the clever moo cows?

    I'll take you up on that nugget, thanks :-)

  4. hey Christina,
    I gotta get a better way of having this thing notify me when people post comments, especially the wicked cool ones like you…(going to see if you actually come back and read)

    I always love your take on all things life. You? A religious cynic? Never would have guessed.

    No Chick-fil-a? So, tell me again. Why did you moooove to that place?

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