Chick-fil-A’s Recipe for Success

As fast-food chains try new menus, Chick-fil-A sticks with tried-and-true chicken sandwiches.

May 10, 2019

NEW YORK—Most people probably aren’t going to Chick-fil-A for its salads. It’s always been about the classic chicken sandwich. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company’s focus on offering a streamlined menu is helping them succeed in the competitive fast-food industry.

Chick-fil-A, known for its customer service, is on track to become the third-biggest U.S. restaurant chain in sales, behind McDonald’s and Starbucks, according to consultancy Technomic Inc. Sales have tripled during the past decade, reaching $10.2 billion in 2018. And its store count has doubled since 2007 to nearly 2,400 locations nationwide.

The success hasn’t happened without obstacles. For one, the store is closed on Sundays—one less day for sales—and a testament to its conservative roots. In 2012, Chief Executive Dan Cathy made a statement regarding the CEO’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Boycotts and organized protests ensued, even as conservative customers rallied behind the chain.

Regardless, Chick-fil-A is doing well. Younger diners give the chain high reviews, and the company has been the top-rated fast-food restaurant on the American Customer Satisfaction Index every year since 2015.

But we still go back to the menu. The Chick-fil-A menu has stayed consistent and straightforward. Chick-fil-A has gained market share among limited-service restaurants that focus on chicken, looking at chains like KFC, Buffalo Wild Wings and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Datassentail says that the company has made an average of 12 permanent or limited-time additions to its menu each year since 2010. McDonald’s, by contrast, has made 49 in recent years, and Burger King has made 37.