Georgia based Chick-fil-A, whose owners have taken criticism for their biblical views and stance on traditional marriage, have once again secured the top stop as the nations leading chicken chain by beating out KFC. And to top it off, Chick-fil-A did it with half the stores (1,775 to 4,491).
Is this simply better business practices? I think we might be looking at a blessing from God.
From a financial perspective, Chick-fil-A registered sales of over $5 billion, compared to KFC's $4.2 billion. But the question remains, how can a privately held chain whose advertising budget is much smaller out perform a sixty-something year-old chain owned by a food conglomerate?
Harland Sanders, a Kentucky entrepreneur commonly known as "Colonel" Sanders, founded the original Kentucky Fried Chicken. The concept started in the 1950's after Sanders developed a secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices and then traveled the country selling rights to small restaurant owners. Sanders sold KFC in 1964 but remained a key figure in the company's advertising strategy until his death in 1980.
Restaurant and business analysts have noted several objective reasons why Chick-fil-A has overtaken KFC, but I believe God's blessings played a role too.
Let's first examine the differences in the two chains.
Chick-fil-A's breakfast menu increased sales by 3.6 percent while KFC's breakfast tally shrunk 2 percent. This comes at a time when consumer demand for breakfast is at an all-time high. Come to think of it, I've never heard anyone say, "Hey, meet me at KFC for breakfast."
Analysts also note the difference in product offerings. Chick-fil-A has wraps, salads and waffle fries to go along with their signature fried chicken sandwich topped with pickles. A wider variety of food offerings aside, I still don't think this is the real reason why Chick-fil-A is kicking KFC's wings.
From a business perspective, I believe it comes down to the employees on the front line and the humility of management.
Because I have a 14 and 10-year old, I have multiple requests each week to dine on fast-food fare. My kid's number one choice is Chick-fil-A because the service is consistent and the food taste great.
Years ago my family frequently stopped at a KFC on the way home from church on Sunday to satisfy my weekly craving for fried chicken. Over half the time our order was never properly filled and on more than one occasion employees had not cooked enough chicken or the right pieces to give us what we ordered. Plus, the restaurant was dirty and the employees seemed to care less I was unhappy over having to receive an order of half original recipe and half extra-crispy.
Not the case at Chick-fil-A.
Employees stumble over one another to ask for your order. They always ask for your name and make a point of saying it when your food is presented. They have staff roaming the restaurant cleaning tables and asking if you need a refill on your sweet tea or soft drink. Moms like the large children's play area and most important, they never run out of chicken!
Yet above this, I believe God blesses those who are most faithful to Him.
Chick-fil-A has come under intense scrutiny over the past few years for financially supporting a foundation they created that supports traditional marriage. Mind you, they never waged a campaign against homosexual marriage but simply supported and encouraged the lifetime marriage of one man and one woman.
Gay activists reacted with severe threats, going so far as to call for a nationwide boycott that not only failed miserably, but caused sales of Chick-fil-A products to soar when Christians flocked to the chain to show support.
How did Chick-fil-A operators respond when a handful of homosexual protesters would show up to picket a store? They would offer them free food and drinks. I believe Jesus would have done the same.
Atheist and those opposed to Christianity argue that the religious beliefs of business owners should play no part in how their choose to run their enterprises. On the other hand, Christians believe that while their businesses may not be religious in nature, they are called upon to treat others as Jesus would if he too were standing behind the counter.
Is it part of God's universal plan to make Chick-fil-A the nations number one chicken destination? I doubt it. But I know God sometimes blesses those who are faithful to Him and believe His son is the key to His kingdom.
Well done good and faithful chicken server.