Chick-fil-A’s Secret Weapon
I like Chick-fil-A but I’ve stopped eating there because the lines are always so amazingly long. The drive through is crowded and the restaurants are packed.
Chick-fil-A’s success is amazing by anyone’s reckoning. What is the secret of their success? They wouldn’t be the raging success they are without excellent food, cheerful hard working team members and clean, welcoming restaurants. But there is another quality that Chick-fil-A maintains which is usually overlooked, often taken for granted, sometimes mocked and even ridiculed.
Their secret weapon is that they are closed on Sundays.
Keeping the Sabbath Holy
When I was growing up, everything was closed on Sundays. OK. You could get gas at the gas station, but that was about it. America took the Ten Commandments seriously, and one of the Ten Commandments is “keep holy the Sabbath Day.” For Christians, the “Sabbath” was “the Lord’s Day” — that is Sunday, the first day of the week.
Chick-fil-A’s founders were Christians who took this commandment seriously, and the company still does.
Sunday was the day for you to go to church and to have some quality family time. Businesses and stores were closed. The laws did not allow Sunday trading.
Chick-fil-A’s founders were Christians who took this commandment seriously, and the company still does. I’ve been thinking how this oddity in modern America benefits Chick-fil-A.
Valuing Their Employees
Firstly, the team members all get a guaranteed day off every week. These are not days off on a staggered schedule. The whole company closes down. No work on Sundays. No work worries on Sundays. No work stress on Sundays. No aching back on Sundays. No tired feet on Sundays. No complaints from family members because of work demands.
So what is the result? The team members come in refreshed and full of energy on Monday. The team members come in grateful for the day off and happy to be part of such a workplace. Every employer knows the hidden benefits of a happy workforce: high morale, good levels of loyalty, hard work and an upbeat workplace atmosphere.
Another result is that the team members feel they are working for an employer who believes there are more important things in life than making as much money as possible. This spirit also raises morale and boosts the workforce’s esteem. Everybody wants to live for something more than money — and the little tradition of being closed on Sunday is an active statement of that belief.
There Are More Important Things Than Money
There are other hidden benefits to Chick-fil-A’s “closed on Sunday” policy: the customers like it too. Sure, there are plenty of folks who are impatient with the fact that they can’t get their favorite chicken sandwich and waffle fries on Sunday, but I believe far more members of the public respect Chick-fil-A’s management for maintaining their beliefs publicly in an age of unbelief.
The customers’ respect spills over to high levels of repeat business and brand loyalty. The Chick-fil-A customer, like the Chick-fil-A team member, likes being part of an organization that puts values over money and people over profit.
Chick-fil-A’s Sunday closing also benefits the wider society. Even those who do not share Christian beliefs benefit from a belief system that says workers should have set times off — family should come first and there are more important things than money.
Society benefits when religious believers put their money where their mouth is. Even those who do not believe often still respect those who do. And those who have waged hate campaigns against Chick-fil-A have shown themselves for what they really are: sad complainers.
When the Chick-fil-A haters tried to launch a boycott a few years ago, the initiative backfired big time. Chick-fil-A restaurants were jammed on the day. They ran out of food and couldn’t keep up. The haters learned a lesson about boycotts: it is an open invitation to let the other side show what they think, and millions of ordinary Americans think Chick-fil-A not only produces a great chicken sandwich, but also creates a better workplace, a better environment and a better society.
Dwight Longenecker’s latest book is Beheading Hydra — A Radical Plan for Christians in an Atheistic Age. Visit his website, browse his blog and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com