Before I get hate mail and my husband divorces me over the title of this blog, let me start by saying, “I love Chick-Fil-A”. My question is not whether or not Chick-Fil- A is a great restaurant. My question is whether or not what they do should be considered “special?” Stick with me here as we look at some key customer service points about Chick-Fil-A.
1) Chick-Fil-A has intentionally chosen to do one thing really well…..chicken. You don’t head to Chick-Fil-A to get a good burger, a pizza, a taco, or a steak. You go to Chick-Fil-A because you want chicken and they have some of the best.
2) Chick-Fil-A has intentionally chosen to be nice. The customer service at Chick-Fil-A is unrivaled. But why? It’s simply because they market that what they are doing for you is “my pleasure”. Employees who are hateful, rude, impatient, or entitled won’t last long at Chick-Fil-A. The expectation is set. If you are serving others at their restaurant, you are doing it kindly.
3) Chick-Fil-A has intentionally chosen to honor the Sabbath. In a move that is very rare in the business world, particularly the restaurant space, Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays. Not only are they closed on Sundays, they let us know WHY. They want their employees to spend the day in worship and with their families.
4) Chick-Fil-A has intentionally chosen to get it right or make it right. Rarely is your order wrong at Chick-Fil-A, but if someone does accidentally make a mistake, the management is quick to compensate you for their mistake, apologize and to make sure you are satisfied with the fix.
5) Chick-Fil-A intentionally values the time of their customers and provides a pleasant experience for those who want to linger or a quick transaction for those who must be on their way.
So, why would I write a blog about Chick-Fil-A? Because as I reflected on my goal of 2020, which is to “Be a voice that helps us love God and love others better” I began to think about people who I believe are already doing this well. It dawned on me a few days ago as I placed my online order and met the kind young man who brought my order to my vehicle for curbside service, there are many things I could learn from Truitt Cathy and the folks at Chick-Fil-A. Here are the thoughts I had quickly run through my mind about my own life that I thought might be worth sharing.
1) If it's best to do one thing really well, what is the one thing I hope to do in 2020?? My intentional goal and your intentional goal may look very different, but the reality is that for all of us, making the choice to do one thing really well is typically much more successful than attempting to do many things sub-par. I may not be able to love EVERYONE better this year, but I can intentionally love my family better, or my co-workers, or my neighbors, or my enemies. I can make the choice.
2) I can intentionally choose to be nice. One definition of nice is simply “pleasant or agreeable”. Is that really so hard? To just be pleasant? We may not always agree on everything; but agreeing and being agreeable are not the same. Being agreeable is simply being willing to agree to SOMETHING. I doubt there is any issue of discussion about which we can’t find at least one piece of common ground on which to land. And even when we can’t agree, we can still be pleasant or NICE.
3) I can intentionally choose to honor the Sabbath. The Ten Commandments were not suggestions, they were laws. Laws written for our own good and intended to make our lives fuller, not less fun. We must find the time to slow down, acknowledge the creator and sustainer of everything in our lives and to feed our relationship with God and others. At the very least, we need to do that weekly. God rested on day 7, so should we.
4) I can intentionally choose to do what is right or to make it right when I make mistakes. None of us is perfect. We are going to mess up from time to time. But what happens when we do? Are we accountable for our shortcomings or do we point fingers at others? Do we apologize or are we too arrogant to admit that we were wrong? Do we pretend nothing happened or do we confront the situation head on and do what we can to remedy it? We live in a world where personal accountability is no longer the norm. How can we be more intentional about our own?
5) I can be intentional with my own time and that of others? Time is an interesting thing. We can’t buy more time. We can’t create more time. Each of us is given the same 24 hours in each day and each of us is given the choice regarding what we do with it. At the end of your life, what do you want to be said about how you spent the time you were given?
I don’t know about you, but Chick-Fil-A has inspired me to do things better. I am not in the restaurant business, but I can certainly be inspired by the intentionality of the founders and management of this chain to be excellent or at the very least intentional in the things that I do each day. I titled this blog, “Is Chick-Fil-A really that special?” The short answer is “no” in that they do what all of us who place our faith in Christ should aspire to do. Yet, I believe the real answer to the question is “yes” in that they are no longer the norm, but the exception and as customers and consumers, we honor them for that.
Chick-Fil-A has set an expectation in the world of fast food. More important than chicken and business, what is the expectation we have as believers in Christ? What are our customer service objectives? What are the things that set us apart and make us desirable to those who know nothing of the One we claim to follow? Are we meeting the expectations or falling short?
The next time you enjoy a meal at Chick-Fil-A (and for me I can tell you that will be soon…..my mouth is watering thinking about the #1) take a moment to be grateful for what those folks do and to challenge yourself to be more intentional in your own life. We all have a role to fulfill…..let’s do it in a way that honors God and one another. And in the words of Kanye West, “You my number one with the lemonade!” (Check out his song “Closed on Sunday” if you have no idea what I’m talking about).