Restaurant Chain Succeeds by Being Kind
It seems as though it might have come right out of a Norman Rockwell painting or a Frank Capra movie. Chick-fil-A continues to grow and add to its legion of admirers and customers
by doing things that other fast food restaurants and retailers do not do.
One of the obvious differences is the chain’s policy of staying closed on Sunday. The company maintains it makes as much in six days as most others do in seven.
“We can outperform them because we teach our employees the importance to be kind to customers,” said Truett Cathy, the 85-year-old founder of Chik-fil-A. “Your customers become
cheerleaders for you and you have to do little advertising, they’re worth more than TV and radio.”
Mr. Cathy, reports The Associated Press, has always maintained people come before profits at Chik-fil-A and, in the process, profits are what he and other stakeholders
in the company have achieved.
The chain currently has 1,250 restaurants in 37 states, making it the 25th largest restaurant chain in the U.S. Revenues at the company have increased at a double digit rate
every year for the past 10 and the company is about to exceed $2 billion in sales for the first time in its history.
The company focuses on many small things to keep it distinct from other competitors in the fast food business. For example, employees are instructed to say, “My pleasure” when
customers thank them.
“It’s a small thing, but … in our business it’s very competitive, so if you can raise yourself above the norm … and improve customer relations, that’s going to be as beneficial
to the chain as ‘We need to sell more waffle fries,’ said Chik-fil-A spokesperson Don Perry. “Truett never says ‘Let’s sell more waffle fries,'” he added.
Discussion Questions: Considering its success, why don’t more businesses follow the lead of Chik-fil-A? How would companies go about creating a new organizational
culture if they were interested in developing a more personal approach to how business is done?