Most of you have entered through the doors and into the wonderful world of Chick-fil-a at one time or another.
You’re greeted almost immediately by a smile and a friendly voice that says “Welcome to Chick-fil-a”.
You walk up to the front to order and there are more smiles coming your way. You almost can’t help but wear your own smile throughout the duration of your visit to Chick-fil-a.
“Would you like some sauces with your meal?”
I normally will get 3 or 4 of those delicious Chick-fil-a sauces to dip my fries in.
“We’ll bring that out to you in just a minute”.
“Thank you” I say…and almost immediately a “my pleasure” come right back at me.
Yesterday I sat down for lunch with a couple friends of mine at Chick-fil-a and I brought up the fact that all of the major fast food restaurants have now begun to copy Chick-fil-a’s customer service policy. Two years ago I vowed never to go to any McDonald’s ever again after a horrible drive thru customer service experience and I marveled that those monster chains could not figure out that customer service is the most important aspect of their business.
On McDonald’s drive thru menu board, the statement “Smiles are free” intrigued me every time because I never got any smiles once I reached the window. I do confess that we asked for our “free smiles” on multiple occasions…and the worker just looked at me in bewilderment.
As we continued talking about Chick-fil-a, my friend Brian said “everyone loves a home away from home”.
It took a second to marinate but then it hit me. I said, “I know who Chick-fil-a stole their customer service policy from.”
Think about it! Everything about Chick-fil-a is modeled after the way that mom’s welcome home their children. Everyone loves to go home and see mom because you know that you’re going to get taken care of. No one pampers a person like mom does.
Regardless of your age, moms never stop taking care of their kids. Whether you’re 16 or 36, when you walk in that front door, you’re greeted with a warm sincere smile. The very next thing mom does is start asking you if there’s anything that you need. “Are you hungry”? “Can I make you a sandwich”? “Have a seat, your probably tired”…and so on and so on. When you walk in that front door…you feel comfortable.
I’ve often wondered why I love Chick-fil-a so much. The food is good but so is the food at other restaurants. So what sets Chick-fil-a apart from other food establishments? What makes my kids ask to go to Chick-fil-a over all of the other places? I believe it’s comfortability. They have learned how to recreate “mom’s recipe of comfortability”.
They’ve made a home away from home and you can feel it when you walk in their doors. It’s clean and neat and the workers are always top notch. They don’t just hire people…they carefully select. One time we asked one of their base wage workers how each and every person can be so friendly each and every time. She responded that it was because of the atmosphere.
She mentioned that their culture was built on Biblical principles and family values. Yeah…I’ll say it again, Chick-fil-a stole the recipe from good ol’ mom and who can deny it. Take this recipe away from them and they’d be nothing but another chicken sandwich.
McDonald’s hasn’t had my business or anyone in my family for over 2 years because of how uncomfortable I was with the way I was treated. The fries were great and the occasional “Happy Meal” was a favorite for the kids, but every time I went there I didn’t leave very happy.
One thing is certain; smiles are definitely free at Chick-fil-a and they are one successful food chain because a smart dude (Truett) learned how to imitate his mom in business and in life.