Chick-fil-A has many wonderful qualities. One of their best qualities is their conviction to carry out their traditions. Over the years, people have fallen in love with not only their amazing food combos, but also their way of training their employees, from the servers all the way up to the managers. People were shocked to find out that recently the food chain broke one of their most important traditions. The reason why is certainly one of the most inspiring things a company has done in a while.
Competitors try really hard to keep up with Chick-fil-A (yeah we’re talking about you KFC), but they can’t seem to match wits with the king of chicken. Rivals tend to offer similar products or even design their online site to match Chick-fil-A’s, but there’s no way they’ll ever take over the chicken market. You may be wondering why that is. What is Chick-fil-A’s secret to leading the way when it comes to fast food chicken?
Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 by Truett Cathy and has over 2,000 locations today. Most people flock to Chick-fil-A to enjoy their amazing tasting chicken and their extremely polite staff, but competitors want to know how they stay on top, even though they have stood by one well-known tradition: the restaurant is closed on Sundays! Even though Sunday is typically the busiest day in the restaurant world, it’s written in the guidelines that every store is to be closed on Sundays. If you look at the figures, you realize it’s not really good for businesses to close on Sundays. So how is it that Chick-fil-A is still standing on top?
It states in the rules that their founder wanted Sundays to be dedicated to the well-being of their employees. Cathy was a devout Southern Baptist that believed if he offered Sundays off, the employees would have more time with their families and their church. And that’s the reason why every single Chick-fil-A has always been closed on Sundays and will continue to be closed on Sundays. Because he stood by his principles, Cathy was considered a popular executive, and many quality people wanted to work for him. But is that enough to push them to the top? Could that really be the only secret to their success?
There are many customers of Chick-fil-A who believe that the chicken always tastes better on Mondays. That could be caused by a few things, like the fact that the fryer has fresh oil. The Sunday’s no-work policy is considered one of the best ways to ensure that employees aren’t getting burnt out. So what would happen if the franchise decides to break their strongest tradition? Could it be the end of Chick-fil-A? Is breaking the Sunday rule just the beginning of the companies break-up with the founder’s principles?
Well, that’s exactly what happened one day in December. On the 17th, Chick-fil-A broke away from its traditions and opened its doors on a Sunday. You might find it shocking to find out that the branch that broke the rules was located in the hometown of Chik-fil-A: Atlanta, Georgia. What could possibly have made Chick-fil-A, a traditional company known for its strict closed-on-Sunday policy, decide to break the very rule that they stand so firmly by? Why would the company put years and years into the tradition and then take it all away for a day in December?
Once hearing the news, customers of Chick-fil-A became extremely confused as to why they decided to break the rule on that particular day in December and open the restaurant on a Sunday. This certainly isn’t a big deal to a KFC fan, but to a Chick-fil-A fan, it’s a pretty big deal. Was it a permanent change? Are you saying that the devoted customers of Chick-fil-A will be able to enjoy their favorite chicken on Sundays now?
There were so many possibilities. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a fast-food chain that literally never opens on a Sunday, even though one of their branches is located in the home of the Falcons, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Demands were thrown at them to open their doors on Sundays when the team plays, but they refused. So why was this time so important that they were actually going to open? There’s nothing more important than serving thousands of football fans, right?
On December 17th, the Hartsfield-Jackson International airport in Atlanta was shut down for 12 hours! They’re the reason why Chick-fil-A decided to break its most important tradition. There were more than 5,000 people stranded at the airport, so Chick-fil-A stood by their mission statement. All of their employees cancelled their Sunday plans and rushed out to help those that were stranded at the airport. Wanting to help out their fellow humans, Chick-fil-A brought tons of their tasty meals to feed the hungry travelers. Keep reading to find out what happens next!
“The mayor called about 10 pm and asked for assistance,” said a spokesperson from Chick-fil-A in an official statement for Fox News. Apparently, an electrical fire had started, causing a power outage. Thousands of travelers were left stranded with no food or water at the international airport in Atlanta. It was reported that the fire started in a facility underground, and as it spread, it eventually reached the airport’s backup power supply. So where does Chick-fil-A fit in all of this? How could a fast food chain do anything to help?
As soon as the mayor got into contact with them, the spokesman for Chick-fil-A said they “immediately mobilized staff and team members who live and work near the airport and they began making sandwiches and delivering them to the EOC (emergency operations center).” With the city and airport officials by their side, Chick-fil-A was able to offer over 5,000 sandwiches to the hungry travelers in the airport. Along with the officials, employees of Chick-fil-A were joined by a mystery guest to help hand out the food. Who was it?
Eventually, Chick-fil-A’s CEO at the time, Dan Cathy, joined the officials and the employees in handing out tons of hot meals to the hungry, stranded travelers. A lot of fans of Chik-fil-A believe that when they opened the doors for the first time, in order to help others, it shows that they stood by the values that were passed down to them by their founder, no matter what. One of those rules says that “Chick-fil-A is about people.” Not only does their commitment to their values show in the closed-on-Sunday policy, it also shows in the fact that the only time they ever broke that rule was to help others. Will this be the one and only time that Chick-fil-A will open their doors on a Sunday?
You could probably guess that the answer would be…NO! Actually, this wasn’t the first time that Chick-fil-A opened their doors to help their community. In 2016, the restaurant broke their Sunday policy to hand out food to rescuers, fire fighters, and volunteers at the crime scene of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida. Not only did they provide food that night, they also opened other branches in the area so they could be of more assistance to those that were working the incident. Chick-fil-A opened their doors before that happened, as well. Do you know when?
The other time that it happened was in December of 2015. Chick-fil-A called all employees to help pass out food to those affected by the flooding in Texas. “This morning Chick-fil-A is breaking their own rule and cooking on a Sunday. For the best reason possible, to help feed those first responders and people in need affected by last night’s tornadoes,” shared Jared Guynes on Facebook. Chick-fil-A continued to share food with those in need for a few days, as well. Their acts of kindness are truly remarkable, will they keep it up? Will Chick-fil-A continue to break the rules?
Dan Cathy says that as long as there are communities in need, Chick-fil-A will continue to break their own rule. It is known that the CEO likes to share his belief that “selfless, servant leadership is about action.” He also believes that “what we say and what we believe will only be as effective as what we are also willing to do.” So what can customers of Chick-fil-A expect from them in the future?
Chick-fil-A and their employees believe that it’s always important to work hard towards being a service to the community. The only rule that supersedes anything else, is their golden rule, which says that service is about helping those that are in need. So what exactly is the secret to Chick-fil-A’s success? They put the people first. Whether it’s their customers, employees, or the members of the community, Chick-fil-A believes in lives are more important than fame and money.