You know you have a good business problem on your hands when the demand for your services is so huge that the cities where you operate try to declare it a public nuisance due to traffic delays. This is the case for several cities where Chick-fil-A operates.
After all these years, Chick-fil-A restaurants just got better and better and it’s become a brand that customers really can’t live without. How do they do that? They’ve certainly had their share of hurdles over the past two decades; from explosive growth, which usually kills customer experience (see 6 reasons why your customer experience plummets when your business skyrockets), to the great recession, the pandemic, and the founder’s controversial views on same-sex marriages . But the one thing that can’t be ignored is the incredible success the brand continues to have and what other organizations can learn from it.
The average Chick-fil-A free restaurant (non-mall units) generates over $8 million in sales per year, a growth of 54% over the past five years. With just 2,700 locations, Chick-fil-A generates more total sales than any chain outside of McDonald’s and Starbucks. However, Chick-fil-A earns more per restaurant than McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks combined, even being closed on Sundays.
Even though demand for Chick-fil-A is at an all-time high, private enterprise will only grow at a pace that doesn’t jeopardize the brand experience. This is one of the keys to their success. They could grow 10 times faster, however, their obsession with operational excellence, customer experience and internal culture won’t allow them to compromise any of these for more units and higher sales.
It may sound like a cliché and lip service, but Chick-fil-A is meticulous about who they select to run their restaurants (Operators and Crew Leaders) and work in their restaurants (Team Members ).
As Chick-fil-A’s sales increase, so does their Net Promoter Score. They are always at the top of their industry for customer satisfaction.
One of the company’s keys to building a world-class brand is that it doesn’t look for great talent, great talent finds it. Quality attracts quality. Chick-fil-A’s reputation for being a world-class customer experience is so well known that it screens out potential candidates who are just looking for a job and don’t want to be held to a higher standard.
Chick-fil-A places so much importance on selecting amazing leaders that one of their main filters asks; “Is someone who cares and will provide genuine love and care to their team? And is it someone I would like my child to work for? »
When the core team of leaders (operators and their top managers) are that type of leader, then great talent comes into it. So many companies treat recruiting and talent as just casting the line and trolling the fish, but what if that fish wants to jump in the boat? Magnets attract and when you start with a core of quality leaders, quality follows.
Skill is also an essential part of Chick-fil-A’s recipe, but is not their number one priority in their selection process. Most businesses start with competence. However, the skill can be taught, and in many customer-facing positions, you can find hundreds of employees with similar skills. Chick-fil-A chooses to prioritize character and chemistry over skill.
During the interview process, Chick-fil-A likes to focus on questions like “Why do you want to do this?” The what and the how are elementary, but it is in the “why” of the candidate that the authenticity is revealed. After the initial interview, Chick-fil-A goes one step further, testing whether this person really wants to do this and whether existing employees want the potential candidate to be their co-worker. They use experiential interviews towards the end to put them in a restaurant and shadow them and allow them to follow existing employees, so the candidate can really see what this job is like and whether it’s a good fit for them.
Chick-fil-A says its service is so consistent because it invests more than other companies in training its employees and helping them advance their careers, whether those careers are in fast food.
Franchisees are encouraged to ask their new hires what their career goals are and then try to help them achieve those goals. “Do you know the dreams of your team? franchisees are constantly solicited. For Kevin Moss, a Chick-fil-A manager of 20 years, supporting his team has meant funding one employee’s marketing degree and paying for another worker to take photography classes. Moss says he also tries to support his employees when needed. For example, if an employee’s family member is in the hospital, they will send food to the family and hospital staff. “I’ve found people are more motivated and respond better when you care about them,” Moss told Business Insider.
The company also offers management positions in all of its restaurants that come with higher pay as well as greater responsibilities. Crew members can work their way into “manager” positions in marketing, housekeeping, kitchen operations, and drive-thru operations. “The better we train, the longer people stay with us,” Moss said.
John R. Di Julius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestlé, PwC, Lexus and more. others. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or [email protected]