Chick-fil-A to become 3rd largest fast-food chain in US sales amid growing popularity

"Over 50 years after opening the first restaurant in the Atlanta area, Chick-fil-A's sales numbers have risen significantly, bested only by McDonald's and Starbucks, according to food-service consultancy Technomic Inc, as reported by the Wall Street Journal." - Christian Examiner

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

...whoever said Chick-fil-A really doesn't need to worry about a few bigotted cities and airports was right.

Mark_Smith's picture

I have eaten at Chick-fil-A a handful of times. I don't get it, to be honest. Its chicken. A chicken sandwich with nothing on it except a pickle? Huh?

I'd rather a spicy chicken from Wendy's myself.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, Mark, Mark, get with the program!  :^)

(I personally appreciate that Chick-Fil-A has less breading, but whatever)

My take is that they're using the rejections to build a "cult following" among conservatives and Christians.  The good side is it gives them a meteoric rise, but the bad side is that if more people join Mark in realizing that it's just a better than average chicken sandwich, then that collapses.  My take is that at some point, they are going to need to lawyer up and fight their persecutors.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Darrell Post's picture

Chick-fil-A's chicken strips are far better than the hard, crusty ones you find at Cracker Barrel, and they are better than or equal to many nicer sit-down restaurants. Their honey mustard sauce isn't as good, but the chicken strips themselves are outstanding. 

M. Osborne's picture

PROS

  1. The food is pretty good.
  2. The service is consistently good. Any other fast-food place is hit or miss; there are many McDonald's and BKs where the staff can't look you in the eye, talk with their mouths half closed, etc. Chick-Fil-A is consistently good and often exceptionally good. At peak times they're out taking orders in the parking lot with some kind of tablet device.
  3. It's consistently clean.
  4. They consistently have a play area which is great when traveling with children.

CONS

  1. They're more expensive. With 5 kids, we simply can't go there often. (We don't go out to eat much, period.)
  2. I agree that the food is not knock-your-socks-off good. There are mom-and-pop places in Philly that are in the same price range that make better food.

I don't see Chick-Fil-A collapsing any time soon, despite it being just a better than average chicken sandwich. I think the service differentiator is worth something to people.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

GregH's picture

It is pretty good; I would rarely pick it if there are other options around. 

I always find it ironic that such a successful fast food restaurant with decent but not great food can still manage to claim persecution. They have gotten a lot of mileage out of that. Here in the Bible Belt especially, faux persecution is good business, even though Christians basically are running everything, making it more than a little far-fetched.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

GregH wrote:

I always find it ironic that such a successful fast food restaurant with decent but not great food can still manage to claim persecution. They have gotten a lot of mileage out of that. Here in the Bible Belt especially, faux persecution is good business, even though Christians basically are running everything, making it more than a little far-fetched.

Not to say that Chick-fil-A itself never gets any mileage out of being excluded, boycotted, etc., but in my experience here in NC, the vast majority of articles, FB posts, etc. claiming "persecution" have been written by others, not by Chick-fil-A themselves.  And I've never seen one of our local Chick-fil-A restaurants try to do anything other than "be the bigger man" and take the high road, always being polite and serving others in spite of attempts to protest, cause a scene, etc.  That's not to say the company doesn't stick up for itself, but most of the fighting and claims of persecution on their behalf is from their fans, not from the company.  The one time I remember a big protest weekend locally, all they did was have extra staff scheduled, be extra nice, and they sold more chicken that weekend than pretty much any other, since all the fans turned out.  I don't eat there all that often, but I came out that weekend just to see what would happen.

Dave Barnhart

GregH's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

I always find it ironic that such a successful fast food restaurant with decent but not great food can still manage to claim persecution. They have gotten a lot of mileage out of that. Here in the Bible Belt especially, faux persecution is good business, even though Christians basically are running everything, making it more than a little far-fetched.

 

 

Not to say that Chick-fil-A itself never gets any mileage out of being excluded, boycotted, etc., but in my experience here in NC, the vast majority of articles, FB posts, etc. claiming "persecution" have been written by others, not by Chick-fil-A themselves.  And I've never seen one of our local Chick-fil-A restaurants try to do anything other than "be the bigger man" and take the high road, always being polite and serving others in spite of attempts to protest, cause a scene, etc.  That's not to say the company doesn't stick up for itself, but most of the fighting and claims of persecution on their behalf is from their fans, not from the company.  The one time I remember a big protest weekend locally, all they did was have extra staff scheduled, be extra nice, and they sold more chicken that weekend than pretty much any other, since all the fans turned out.  I don't eat there all that often, but I came out that weekend just to see what would happen.

Yes, I am not saying that they have a marketing strategy to make hay out of all the faux persecution. But it is undeniable that they are far better off as a company because they have dealt with a few boycotts and such and managed to rally a rabid following behind them. Even if there are a few isolated cases here and there where they can legitimately claim discrimination, they have benefited tremendously. And of course, 99.9% of the time, not only do they not face any persecution but actually get defended far more aggressively than similar businesses. I can only imagine the outcry if any typical southern town dared to try to ban a Chick-fil-A.

Bert Perry's picture

Greg might be right in a "typical southern town", but we would be remiss if we neglected the politically motivated rejections of locations in San Antonio and Buffalo NY, as well as public statements against the company by none less than Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and New York City mayor DiBlasio.  

Now it might well be that the company put together the bids in in San Antonio and Buffalo to "play" the elected leaders there and get some great publicity--having a backup plan to actually put in a restaurant only if the anticipated result failed--but there is something telling when the elected leaders of cities with a combined 13 million people are willing to go on record stating their willingness to discriminate against businesses because of the views one of their leaders.  

Persecution in the sense of Nero using Christians as living torches at his parties?  Of course not.  But it is yet a troubling precedent when political leaders seek to bring government heat against businesses this way.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Darrell Post's picture

From what I understand it is a franchisee-owned business model. One Chick-fil-A could be owned by someone completely different from another Chick-fil-A just 5 miles away. 

Bert Perry's picture

Here's their franchising info, and here's their licensing info.  Regarding both, keep in mind that those who would partner with the company are going to get really, really grouchy if the company doesn't go to bat for them, legally speaking, when corrupt politicians try to use the power of the state to interfere with a lawful business.

Hence my best guess is that the Buffalo and San Antonio deals were gambits where they had a good idea they'd get rejected because of who they were.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.