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Chick Fil a Business Model and Growth Strategy

Who doesn’t love a trio of Holstein cows holding placards of misspelled words that encourage people to each chicken instead of beef? This organization has a strong religious component to its traditional QSR business model, which gives it a unique twist. Franchises are sold and there are the varied menu items that all fast food places offer, but what isn’t offered is the emphasis on how customers are treated.

When was the last time at a McDonald’s or a Wendy’s where one of the employees offered to take your tray for you or get a refill on your drink? Or when you said “Thank you,” a gruff “No problem” was the response? At Chick-fil-A, any manners of thanks are greeted with “My pleasure.” Christian music is often playing in the background. These things are unheard of in the modern QSR industry.

The Chick-fil-A business model is built on one premise: happy employees make for happy customers. They achieve this by emphasizing the following key points consistently.

1. Cleanliness.

A couple decades ago, people when to McDonald’s when they were traveling not for the food, but because of their reputation of having a clean bathroom. Chick-fil-A has taken that idea a step further and created a clean atmosphere. The staff are constantly washing down tables and booths. They’re literally waiting for you to get done eating so they can mop the floor where you just were. Each franchise takes a lot of pride in being immaculate and it shows in the revenues that can be achieved.

2. Tunnel Vision.

Although you’ll find a fairly large menu at Chick-fil-A, you’ll also notice that most menu items focus on one thing: chicken. From the chicken biscuit sandwiches at breakfast to the grilled chicken salads and milkshakes at lunch, this chain has fused together the Americana that is loved from mom and pop diners with QSR principles to create a fast, friendly, and beef-free restaurant experience. It’s that tunnel vision that is emphasized in their marketing materials as well, which most fast food places don’t even bother trying to establish.

3. Quality Over Quantity.

Although Chick-fil-A doesn’t quite qualify as a fast casual restaurant, the pricing principles of restaurants like Chipotle can be found within the chain. Instead of trying to race every other chicken sandwich place down to the lowest price possible, Chick-fil-A focuses on providing the best sandwich possible at a fair price. Higher prices mean more profits, which mean better paid employees, which means a better experience for everyone involved.

4. Inspiration.

Each Chick-fil-A restaurant integrates itself into the local community in a unique way. Some focus on the historical nature of the chain, like one might see at an older A&W or Dairy Queen. Others collect local memorabilia to hang on the walls. Paintings from children are often seen, many even created on the premises. A family night is often promoted at this chain as well so parents and kids can have some dinner, watch a movie, and not break their budget doing so.

5. Community Involvement.

If there is one point of contention in the Chick-fil-A business model, it would be right here. Chick-fil-A sticks very closely to its religious values and that means they may not support certain community choices. Their stance on same-sex relationships made headlines at the same time Hobby Lobby made headlines for fighting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It polarized some people against the brand, but brought others into it. They also routinely sponsor youth sports, donate to local non-profits, and have an extensive social media presence.

6. Transparency.

Anything you ever wanted to know about Chick-fil-A can be found on their website. They don’t try to hide who they are or what they do. This transparency helps to build relationships with potential customers because it is a reflection of their integrity, whether people agree or disagree with some of their political and social stances.

From a traditional standpoint, the Chick-fil-A business model emphasizes the key points of any fast food restaurant that is based in the United States. Fast turnaround times and numerous menu options in a franchising arrangement help the brand to compete. What sets it apart, however, are the ways that the brand works on building relationships with each customer.

You’re going to feel special when you eat at a Chick-fil-A or this chain will do its very best to make you feel that way. That’s often why people come back. Having a great tasting chicken sandwich doesn’t hurt either.

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