If you have yet to try Chick-fil-A, then there is every possibility that you are wondering what it is that makes it so popular? When most fast food chains offer the same sorts of things (french fries, burgers, fried chicken), Chick-fil-A does many things differently. Of course, there have been some controversies on Chick-fil-A’s political views, but their fresh and simple secret recipes keep customers wanting more. Chick-fil-A fanatic or not, here are the top ten untold truths of Chick-fil-A.
The Chick-fil-A Roots Can Be Traced Back to the Restaurant ‘Dwarf House’
The founder, S. Truett Cathy, opened a restaurant called Dwarf House (formerly the Dwarf Grill) back in 1946, which focused on hamburgers and steak. You may not be aware that the Chick-fil-A menu began as a part of the Dwarf House’s menu. The Goode Brothers Poultry Company approached Cathy with their excess chicken breasts which were rejected by airlines. Cathy accepted the shipment of boneless chicken breasts and used it in his restaurant at the time. This chicken surplus led to the famous chicken sandwich, which was a meal served at the Dwarf House. After years of perfecting the chicken sandwich recipe, experimenting with different oils and reducing the preparation time by using a pressure cooker, Cathy decided to open a fast-food restaurant purely based on the boneless chicken breast sandwich, leading to the first Chick-fil-A fast food location of 368 sq ft in 1967. It was actually the surplus of chicken breasts from a local supplier that led to the creation of the first Chick-fil-A outlet. Liking this video so far? Lick your chops, hit that subscribe button and ring that bell to join our notification squad.
Chick-fil-A Remains Closed on Sunday’s, and Not Only Because it’s a holy day
The reason behind not operating on Sunday’s has to do with Chick-fil-A maintaining religious beliefs that it is a holy day. A day to rest after working six days, mainly to focus on God and family. But another reason behind the nonfunctional Sundays has to do with the restaurants’ 24 hours of operation. Cathy’s experience of working in a restaurant that opens 24 hours a day, seven days a week left him exhausted. He realized how important it was to take time off to spend with his family. Besides, Sunday was not a trading day at the time, which is why Chick-fil-A remained closed on that day. Cathy closed for service the first Sunday after opening his very first restaurant Dwarf House and since then has maintained this ritual. Sunday was chosen to allow his employees the time to rest and worship if they chose to do so. Sometimes operators make exceptions especially when their communities are in need of it, like if there are tornadoes, power shutdowns or other disasters.
The Real Meaning Behind the Capital Letter A in Chick-fil-A
You have to agree that the name Chick-fil-A is catchy and definitely unique. It can grab anyone’s attention within minutes! You may also know that the full form of Chick-fil-A is Chicken Fillet. The Fil-A is a play on words. But others say that capital ‘A’ signifies the top quality, Grade-A chicken fillet sandwiches. This recipe is top secret and locked away in a hidden vault at the Atlanta headquarters. It can never be replicated because when founder Truett Cathy perfected the recipe and found the perfect blend of seasoning 50 years back, he folded the piece of paper, placed it in his pocket and then made sure it was locked up in a safe. This is why the A grade justifies the use of the capital letter in the name. It means that no other fast food restaurant is serving the same tasty sandwich. You can only eat this scrumptious chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A fast food chains. The fact that the recipe has not changed for over 50 years, the chicken is fresh and not frozen, and the recipe remains top secret warrants the A-Grade usage.
The Chicken Fillet Sandwich at Chick-fil-A is Not the Most-Ordered Menu Item
Do you think the chicken fillet sandwich is the most ordered meal at Chick-fil-A? Yes, it is popular but not as popular as the waffle fries. The waffle fries are the chain’s top-selling menu item, served with all meals at Chick-fil-A or ordered as a single menu item. These fries are overtaking the original chicken sandwich and have turned the french fries industry upside down. The potatoes used are freshly harvested at family-owned farms in Washington state. Many customers love the golden brown crispy fries seasoned with sea salt as it offers more value with its quirky shape. It is different to the common french fries that most fast food restaurants offer, making Chick-fil-A the go-to restaurant for these novelty fries. You will be happy to know that the original recipe has not been tweaked since inception, unlike other fast food chains that have experimented with their french fries.
You Are Eating Healthy Fast Food at Chick-fil-A
You’ll likely agree that it’s hard to associate healthy eating with fast food, especially when there are so many preservatives used. Chicken is usually not free from antibiotics, added hormones, and fillers, which is the type of chicken served at fast food restaurants. But Chick-fil-A is different! Their chicken is antibiotic-free and the salads are freshly cut. And instead of ordering fries with your sandwich, you can opt for their fruit cup or kale and broccolini hand-chopped salad. These side dishes have received a thumbs-up from operators and numerous customers. A handful think it is not as healthy due to the sugar contained in the maple vinaigrette dressing and dry cherries. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that with Chick-fil-A, you can maintain a mostly healthy balanced diet while eating fast food. Bizarre but true! There is no doubt that Chick-fil-A will help you feel better about the food that you eat especially if you prefer healthier fast food, but this is not the only reason for the restaurant’s increasing popularity. Apparently, the staff are super friendly, positive and welcoming, which is hard to come by in the fast food sector.
They Make Dining at the Chick-fil-A Restaurant Easy for Parents with Little Children
Kids are tough to handle at restaurant line-ups, which is why many parents have avoided dining outside with their kids. They usually consider take-out and sit in front of the TV, but with Chick-fil-A, parents do not have to avoid dining out completely. A few of their restaurants have introduced a valet drive through that allows parents to place an order with their kids in the car. Then they can park their cars, stroll inside the restaurant where a host will greet them and show the family to their seats. In the meantime, staff have prepared the table with the food, drinks, table mats, and as many high-chairs as are needed. Not all franchises offer this service. So far, it has been highly valued at Chick-fil-A restaurants that there are plans to roll out this program at all locations.
You Are Not Drinking Concentrated Lemonade at Chick-fil-A
Everyone loves lemonade that has been freshly prepared. There is no denying that fresh lemonade made from freshly harvested lemons supersedes concentrated lemonade any day. You already know that the lemonade served at Chick-fil-A is freshly squeezed and extracted from real lemons. It is not your usual concentrate juice. But, did you know that the lemonade only contains three ingredients — lemon juice, pure cane sugar, and water? And the lemons are squeezed each day by hand? There are no additives or preservatives. With just these three ingredients, they have served over 121 million cups of lemonade that is made of 250 million or more lemons. The lemonade offers a good dose of vitamin C. Also if you have not already noticed, their lemonade is consistent in flavor at all their locations. Chick-fil-A buys huge quantities of lemons from Sunkist, which are known to be the best lemons. However, one lingering question remains on whether the diet version is as healthy as the regular lemonade since Splenda is used instead of sugar. Rest assured, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that Splenda is safe after reviewing many toxicology reports and clinical studies.
Free Food to Chick-fil-A’s First 100 Customers
You may be aware that the first 100 customers that camp at any new Chick-fil-A restaurant receive free food for a year limited to 52 meals and consisting of the Chick-fil-A sandwich, medium waffle fries, and a medium drink. The way it works is that fans are encouraged to camp out in front of a new location before the grand opening in that region, with promises to reward the first 100 customers to free meals for an entire year. This concept has attracted many customers to Chick-fil-A with large crowds arriving very early to participate in the campout giveaway. Astoundingly, more than 100 people actually bring their tents and camp out in front of the new restaurant in the main parking lot. Due to its popularity, Chick-fil-A had to introduce a free lottery system to select the first 100 customers. Aside from this, Chick-fil-A is not only about business and profit. They want to help people experiencing hardship. They offer free food when disaster strikes. When the busiest airports were closed due to lack of power, Chick-fil-A offered free food to stranded passengers and even operated on a Sunday to cater to these passengers. When tornadoes hit many of the states, Chick-fil-A prepares free food for responders and people injured. Even when a homeless man entered a Chick-fil-A branch begging for food, a restaurant manager offered free food in exchange for a prayer together.
The Chick-fil-A Company Can Never Go Public
Cathy’s fortune during his operative days earned him a spot on the famous Forbes magazine as one of the wealthiest Americans in the country. Earning a whopping revenue of $8 billion in 2016, this poultry centric fast-food chain is gaining in popularity and believe it or not, is capable of surpassing other well-known chains. It is predicted to be the third largest fast food chain. But despite the restaurant’s success and Forbes’ ranking, the founder Truett Cathy preferred to keep it a privately owned business. This is a mystery because many companies want to go public to expand their restaurant business and profitability. Chick-fil-A is the hottest restaurant concept that can triple its already huge revenues with a public offering. But Truett Cathy obviously did not want shareholders telling him what to do when they do not know the restaurant, its culture, and the way things operate at Chick-fil-A. There’s some talk that this is likely because of religious roots, too. Dan, Truett’s son and Chick-fil-A’s current President and CEO is open to going public with the restaurant in order to speed up expansion. Despite keeping the company private, Dan has made his views against gay marriage public leading to an ongoing boycott within the LGBTQ community. Dan took over in 2013, and in 2014 before Truett passed away, he made his children sign a contract agreeing that Chick-fil-A will remain a privately owned business, but it is hard to say how binding the contract is and whether Truett’s wishes will be respected.
Chick-fil-A Supports the Livelihood of Local Farmers and Suppliers
It may not be apparent to everyone, but Chick-fil-A is one restaurant that boosts local business for farmers and suppliers as well as promotes safety in food processing. Chick-fil-A follows the philosophy that food is essential for life; therefore, it should be made right. This principle has guided the restaurant for over 50 years and is the reason for Chick-fil-A investing heavily in locally farmed produce. Thanks to this, many local farmers and suppliers are flourishing in business within their states and thousands of jobs have been created in local communities. Chick-fil-A staff personally visit farms and suppliers to ensure that global food safety standards are applied. The chickens they serve are raised in barns without cages. Chick-fil-A chicken is 100% real and arrives at the restaurant fresh. There have been controversies of how the chickens were treated before they reached the restaurant, but Chick-fil-A reassured the public that they only collaborate with suppliers who follow environmental stewardship and animal well-being standards. The coffee you drink at Chick-fil-A is also from local farmers supplied through the Thrive Farmers, an organization that works to ensure coffee bean farmers receive as much money into their pockets as possible. The famous waffle fries you eat are homegrown potatoes from the Johnson family who started their farm in 1906. The produce they serve are cultivated in the West Coast where the weather is perfect for veggie growth and supplied fresh six days a week except Sundays. Chick-fil-A is also the largest domestic buyer of U.S peanut oil. Peanuts are a crop in the south where Chick-fil-A’s is headquartered, which is why makes sense to use this oil as the sole supply. All Chick-fil-A restaurants diligently use 100% refined peanut oil to pressure-cook the chicken. It is no wonder the chicken tastes so delicious!