Five Things I Love About Chick-fil-A

Two weeks ago, Richmond Mom was chosen as part of a select group of mom’s websites for a backstage tour of the Chick-fil-A headquarters.  I was so excited to represent the Richmond Mom team at this event.  The Chick-fil-A Backstage event helped me realize why this restaurant has been one of my favorites almost as long as I can remember.

Here are my top five reasons that I love Chick-fil-A:

1. Fresh ingredients: The topic of food quality creates a lot of buzz these days. Fast food gets a pretty bad rap with a reputation for lower quality ingredients, pre-packaged delivery, and food additives like “pink slime.”  You won’t find anything like this at Chick-fil-A.  They are committed to

Lemonade ingredients

All you need to make that fresh Chick-fil-A lemonade

using fresh, top-quality ingredients in all of their products.  Name brands such as Nabisco Nilla wafers, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and Sunkist lemons are used in all of their restaurants.  During our tour, we had an opportunity to make the Chick-fil-A lemonade just like every restaurant operator.  The ingredients are simple: fresh lemons, sugar (or Splenda for diet), and water.  These lemons are squeezed fresh every day at each location.  Lemonade isn’t made from a mix or syrup.

Similarly, their chicken breasts and nuggets are hand-breaded, pies and cookies are baked fresh, and  salad ingredients are chopped in each store. Nothing is “pre-made” for Chick-fil-A locations.  This commitment to freshness ensures the best quality for your family.

2. Kids meals encourage engagment: I usually cringe when we get a kids meal from another fast food restaurant.  The plastic object included with the meal may carry some interest long enough for the car ride home but it is quickly forgotten and often relegated to gathering dust or taking up valuable storage space in our already cluttered home.  This never happens at Chick-fil-A.  The prizes

Chick-fil-A Cow

One of the popular Chick-fil-A cows

in their kids meals focus on bringing families together.  If you have been to one of their restaurants recently, you may have seen the University Games educational toys or the Klutz Build-A-Book kits that allow kids to create books for mom, dad, or family (perfect for those spring holidays that celebrate the family unit).  Stay tuned later this year for gardening tools from the National Wildlife Federation, Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books, Jim Henson puppets, and comic books featuring the popular Chick-fil-A cows.  Did you know that each kid’s meal prize comes with a guide for families that offers activities and ideas to expand engagement with your child?  I have yet to find a comparable restaurant that offers that kind of thoughtfulness with their kiddie sized fries.

3. Challenging conventional wisdom:

Me & Dan Cathy at the original Dwarf House restaurant, the "First Chick-fil-A"

When Truett Cathy started his Dwarf House restaurant in 1947, he served meals 24 hours a day to the blue collar employees who worked in the industrial area of Atlanta where he set up shop.  The exception was that he always closed on Sunday.  Sixty-six years ago, this was not uncommon, but the Cathy family has kept to their commitment of giving all of their employees a day of rest.  It certainly hasn’t hurt their business.  Their commitment to quality ingredients also bucks the fast food standard.  Truett’s son Dan Cathy shared their family formula for success during our tour: success happens when you “get the food right, create the right employee atmosphere, and get people coming back over and over again.”  This commitment is seen not just in the three generations of the Cathy family who now run the business but the thousands of employees who work in all aspects of the corporation, from owners and operators to dishwashers and cashiers.

4. Commitment to the community: You have probably participated in a Chick-fil-A Spirit Night recently.  The individual locations are proud to be an active part of their communities. Not only do they offer creative opportunities for local organizations to raise funds, they also offer special evenings that help families reconnect and engage.  In the past year, some Chick-fil-A locations have hosted special family nights such as father-daughter and mother-son date nights, girls night out (for mothers and daughters) and football nights (for fathers and sons).  These events are usually more than just an opportunity to eat out.  The restaurants offer extras such as tablecloths, table-side entertainment, themed games, and  more! In the next year, stay tuned to your local Chick-fil-A locations for more opportunities like this.  For the cost of a meal, you can get an engaging evening out with one (or more) of your children.

5. Standing by their values: The Cathy family does not shy away from their commitment to being a family centered company. Many people know that they are a Christian family and it is evident through some of their kid’s meal programs as well as their charitable activities that their business model and employee training are centered around Christian ideals.  Regardless of your personal ideology, it is difficulty to argue with a business that is clearly family centered, focused on engagement, and also focused on balance.  I respect that commitment to the Golden Rule as well as the investment they put into both their business and the community.

Do you love Chick-fil-A?  Comment on this post, telling us what you like best about their restaurants, and you could win some great prizes brought straight to you from Chick-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta.  Comments must be made by May 28th to qualify.

Disclaimer: Chick-fil-A provided my food, airfare, and lodging during the Backstage Tour. The opinions expressed are entirely those of the author.  


Rachel Reynolds

Rachel Reynolds balances her time as Principal of the Dominion School for Commonwealth Autism Service, Executive Director and Co-founder of CJ's Thumbs Up Foundation, and writing on her personal blog. Her first book, Four Seasons for Charlotte, a memoir chronicling her daughter's battle with cancer was released in May 2012.

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