Chicken haters have made no dent in Chick-fil-A’s stunning success, as it continues it’s trajectory toward becoming the third largest chain in the U.S., which is expected sometime by the end of 2020. Sales have tripled in the last ten years, and the number of store locations has nearly doubled since 2007. While many in the LGBT community continue to harp on old comments by the CEO who supports the Christian view of marriage, and on donations made by the company’s foundation to nonprofits that support the same as reasons to boycott the wildly popular chicken sandwiches, these cries have not managed to significantly stop the restaurant’s growth. Indeed, some are even starting to notice the ways that each restaurant engages closely with its community, like Twitter user Taylor Zhao (@zhaopow) who commented that “No company is free of bad behavior and I think Chick Fil A has been trying to rebrand away from its earlier views. I know the ones near my city that give back to the community often.”
Certainly, this is community involvement is due to the fact that most franchise owners hold only a single location, as opposed to McDonald’s for example, where the average franchise owner has six stores. Chick-fil-A expects that each franchisee will be hands-on with their store, and become an integral part of their community. This includes the Chick-fil-A values to treat everyone with care and respect. This attitude is reflected in the fact that Chick-fil-A has ranked first in the American Customer Satisfaction Index for restaurants each year since 2015, typically with a wide margin between second place.
While the chicken is great, that attitude is part of the magic that leaves customers so happy. In fact, teenagers recently ranked them as their favorite restaurant. About a year ago, I wrote more on the reasons for the chain’s continued success and popularity. One other key to their success that I did not mention then is their more narrow focus. Instead of trying to cast a broad net to attract the most varied palate, Chick-fil-A focuses on just a few items, and does them well. They make very few changes to the menu each year, and this singular focus ensures success.
Some haters will continue to attempt to bring Chick-fil-A down in their attempts at cultural Marxism, but everyone else knows a successful formula when they see it, taste it, and experience it. The long lines (which they have found a way to process at lightning speed) prove it. It’s now only a matter of time before they take their place as the third largest quick-service restaurant, despite being open only six days per week, in approximately 20% as many locations as McDonald’s has. That is astounding success by any measure.