Wonder why Chick-fil-A is besting the competition? The answers were obvious to me during a visit to a relatively new store in Dallas’s Love Field airport.
1. The menu board pictured just 11 choices
Contrast that with the JumboTron McDonald’s needs to showcase its dozens of options. Less scouring by customers means faster ordering. No wonder McDonald’s and scores of other quick-service brands are trying to simplify their menus. But they’re already trailing Chick-fil-A.
2. The order taking started with the crewmember asking my name
Not only was there the personalized touch of wanting to know who I was, but also the echo benefit of calling me by name rather than by number when my order was ready.
3. Ingredients were listed wherever they could be
The clear-glass tanks holding the two pre-mixed lemonades, for instance, were emblazoned with three-inch-high letters spelling “Lemons, water, sugar,” on the vat for “regular” and “Lemons, water, Splenda” on the container for the diet version. When other chains talk about the importance of product integrity and menu transparency, this is what they mean.
4. Three cashier stations were open
This was at 3:45 in the afternoon, usually a slack time. But people were drawn to the unit because it didn’t have the lines snaking away from the other options in the food-court-like area. Not surprisingly, most of them had a single ordering station—and customers baling off the line to find a speedier place to grab a pre-flight bite.
5. The crewmembers actually spoke to you
A mother asked if the unit had barbecue sauce for her son’s chicken sandwich. A staff member explained politely that only ketchup was available, and she did it in the words and tone a neighbor or friend might have gotten. No one told her to be stony or dismissive, apparently a job requirement for many fast-food workers here in New York.
6. The food was hot
The food was hot, not just warm, and I know it was just made rather than plucked from a holding area. And the drink was not over-iced.