What’s the top concern of the CEO at the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the U.S.?
It’s not the temperature of Chick-fil-A's waffle fries, the crispness of lettuce in their salads, or even the tenderness and flavor of the boneless breast of chicken on their sandwiches. It is values-driven service that is yielding sales increases at Chick-fil-A, according to CEO Dan Cathy, who spoke to chicken suppliers at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association's Harold E. Ford Foundation Executive Luncheon during the 2015 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE).
With sales over $5 billion annually, Cathy said Chick-fil-A is winning business by pursuing its mission, stated in just two words: Be remarkable.
It is imperative that the food be good, but values trump physical product details at the company that boasts inventing the boneless-breast chicken sandwich and puts God and positively touching people’s lives at the center of its business mission and purpose.
Chick-fil-A values expressed in special touches
Remarkable service at Chick-fil-A gets expressed in what Cathy calls “special touches” that demonstrate personal caring. This includes employees who escort customers into restaurants on rainy days under the cover of umbrellas or dispense ground pepper on patrons’ salads.
Cathy pointed to more corporate touches including the decision to begin sourcing chicken from suppliers with antibiotic-free flocks. Chick-fil-A’s transition to using antibiotic-free chicken is ongoing.
He told the poultry executives that the timeless values involved with caring about people and positively influencing them helps create social media buzz and drives sales at Chick-fil-A.
Guarding the culture at Chick-fil-A
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy passed away in September 2014, but guarding the corporate culture and setting goals for the future occupy the thoughts of son, Dan.
He reminded the poultry executives of Chick-fil-A’s purpose statement that appears over the headquarters’ doorway: "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
“If we are to have purpose and meaning in life and in business...we have a huge frontier...full of opportunities in the marketplace to positively influence people’s lives,” he said.
In a marketplace in which many companies are trying to reinvent themselves in relation to consumer demands for authenticity and the latest consumer issues, Chick-fil-A is winning sales by guarding the timeless values.