Chick-fil-A: Moootivating Cowmittment

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans.” -Ken Blanchard

In case you missed it, this past Friday (7/8/2011) was Cow Appreciation Day at all Chick-fil-A locations across the United States. For those poor souls unfamiliar with this great holiday, Cow Appreciation Day is a day when Chick-fil-A customers can dress up as cows and receive free food in return (an entree for wearing a shirt; a combo for dressing head to hoof). In other words, it’s an opportunity for the raving fans of Chick-fil-A to celebrate one of their favorite restaurants. Do I happen to be one of those raving fans? I’ll let you decide from the photo…

What is it that Chick-fil-A does so well to mootivate this type of cowmittment from its customers? One word: values. Anytime you walk into a Chick-fil-A you will be greeted by a friendly employee and will be treated like a family member the whole time you are there from employees asking if you’d like refills and taking your trash to the familiar “My Pleasure” anytime you thank them for anything. You almost forget that you are visiting a fast food restaurant built around putting friend chicken between two pieces of bread. Being treated in such a kind way (ie the Golden Rule) leads to brand loyalty in the minds of customers. Now that I live in a town without a Chick-fil-A, I make it a point to visit one whenever I am near one around a meal time. It is also one of the few restaurants that I order food from without looking at the price of what I’m about to order. Yes, the food is exceptional, but the way in which the company takes care of its customers is what keeps me going back…even dressed as a cow.

Not only does Chick-fil-A demonstrate its values when serving customers, but also when taking care of its own employees (referred to as “Team Members”). One reason that each restaurant is closed on Sundays, according to the corporate website, is to provide Team Members with “an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so.” In addition, the company also offers $1,000 college scholarships to qualified employees. This dedication to employees is one reason that the employees are so eager to serve each customer that visits a Chick-fil-A the other six days of the week.

Does all this kindness, service, and giving away free food to cow-clad customers pay off? Why, yes it does! Chick-fil-A has experienced positive sales growth each year for the past 43 years, with 2010 sales coming in at $3.5 billion system-wide (an 11.4% increase from 2009; 5.6% increase in same-store sales). This revolutionary approach to fast food has not only led to Chick-fil-A being looked to as a leader of fast-food, but also of leadership development. Chick-fil-A’s Leadercast and WinShape Foundation are two platforms for the company to encourage its form of positive servant leadership on a broader scale.

Chick-fil-A is a fantastic example of a company and brand creating a deeply loyal fanbase of raving fans that not only dress up as cows once a year for free chicken, but also serve as brand evangelists in their circles of influence. On my list of “Companies I’d Like to Work For,” Chick-fil-A is definitely in the Top 5.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

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About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

One Response to Chick-fil-A: Moootivating Cowmittment

  1. Pingback: Customer Service: Turning “My Duty” Into “My Pleasure” | Lawson Hembree's Blog

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