Inside Chick-fil-A's Obsession with Speed and Service

About 60% of Chick-fil-A’s business comes from the drive-thru. The line might be long, but the wait never is. How do they do it?

Photo Courtesy of NRN.

For years, Chick-fil-A has had a cult following for its pickle-brined fried chicken sandwiches, always with the requisite three pickle chips, and always served with a warm and enthusiastic smile.


It has been growing at impressive speed, particularly for a brand of its size — 16.7% sales growth in 2018, making it the third largest chain in the United States.


The quick-service brand was ranked No. 1 for service and No. 2 overall for food quality, out of more than 200 brands from all segments.


There are certain universal hallmarks in Chick-fil-A’s customer service approach. For example, employees are instructed to respond with “My pleasure,” rather than “You’re welcome.”


Stories abound of Chick-fil-A staff members waiting for customers with umbrellas during rainstorms.


Photo Courtesy of NRN.

Since Chick-fil-A couldn’t install drive-thru windows in one Manhattan store, management instead equipped its staff with tablets that allowed them to take and process orders while they stood in line and then transmitted to both the kitchen and the waiting cashiers. That way, their order could be in process before the customer had even paid.


Company executives have said winning this “game of seconds,” particularly at the drive-thru, is a top priority.


That focus on customers’ needs in any situation has helped Chick-fil-A to maintain a loyal following.


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