How Chick-fil-a Delivers Amazing Service

| September 18, 2017

By Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company

No one can argue that a visit to a Chick-fil-a is a higher-level experience than what you get from most fast food restaurants. Have you ever wondered how they manage to deliver great food and a great experience when restaurants right down the street paying their people similar wages, struggle?

I have. Part of the answer is the people Chick-fil-a attracts. Their culture and values attract great workers. Higher caliber workers are able and willing to provide higher level service.

But is it just great people that make Chick-fil-a great? Nope. Their formula is “Great People + Great Training = Excellent Customer Experiences. The key to Chick-fil-a’s customer service training is what they call the “Core 4.” Here they are:

1 – Make Eye Contact – This is simple, but so often overlooked. I was talking to a friend of mine who just went through a nasty health scare at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. She was raving about the service, cleanliness, pretty much everything about her experience. She mentioned that everyone (including the physicians) walking down the hall would make eye contact. You rarely see this is in a busy hospital, especially from physicians hurrying from one patient to the next, but it makes a huge difference in the feel of a place when people make eye contact and recognize your presence.

There is a rule in the hospitality industry called the 10 and 5 rule. The rule states that if someone is within 10 feet of you, you should greet them with a smile and eye contact. If they are within 5 feet of you, you should greet them verbally. It just takes 2 seconds but will make all the difference in the feel of your business.

2 – Smile – Smiling is an international symbol of kindness. Smiling people are prettier and appear nicer. It doesn’t matter how bad of a day you are having. If you will smile at the people you encounter you will have a positive impact on their day. And, bonus… you will feel better. The act of smiling is proven to improve your mood. You look happier. You make other people happier and you feel happier. Why not put on a smile?

3 – Speak Enthusiastically – I love the phrase “fake it until you make it.” It applies to so many areas of life. Are you scared of a conversation or situation? Fake confidence. You fake it by adjusting your body language, your speech, your eye contact, your entire presence. You ask yourself how would a confident person act in this situation and then you force yourself to act similarly. The cool thing is that as you fake confidence, you really begin to feel confident. Making eye contact, smiling, speaking enthusiastically could all be considered “faking it” but will change you as you do these actions!

People respond to what you present to them. If you present yourself as caring, confident and happy they are more likely to respond positively to you. Their response further lifts your mood as you lifted theirs. It’s a great cycle!

4 – Stay Connected – or Make a Connection. Relationships begin on common ground or shared values. Look for an opportunity to find common ground with everyone you interact with. School, favorite sports team, hometown, hopes, dreams, anything! Just get to know people better, your connection and relationship will grow and the connection will be more positive for both of you.

I have found that the people who are great at this are not naturally gifted at remembering facts and figures about people. The great ones have a system. I am not gifted with anything close to a photographic memory. Therefore, I keep notes in my contact database so I can recall the nuggets of common ground that I learn from each conversation.

At work or in your personal life, the quality of your relationships will determine your ability to positively impact the lives of those around you. Implement the Core 4 to improve the quality of your relationships and your life.

For more tools on becoming delivering great customer experiences head over to our Resource Page and check out our free tools to help you get started or give us a call at 229-375-5613.

Curt Fowler is an organizational growth expert and President of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organization. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.

Have a business growth topic you’d like me to cover? Send suggestions to cfowler [at] or use our contact form by clicking here.

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