"It's a great day at Chick-fil-A! My name is Peter, how may I serve you?"
It's Friday night and I'm on headset in the Chick-fil-A drive thru. Chick-fil-A takes their drive thru very seriously. Even when there are 2 lines of cars wrapping around the restaurant and extending into the street, we're expected to get every customer through in 10 minutes or less. When it's this packed, we have team members head outside, rain or shine, to take drivers' orders on iPads to speed up the process. Multiple transactions are completed simultaneously and seldom are two orders mixed up.
The drive thru is busy right now, but not busy enough for the iPad team, so it's just me taking orders on the headset, ringing them up and preparing any drinks and desserts necessary. Even though the customer can't see me, I still smile when I take her order. It makes my voice more cheerful. In the background I can hear children talking loudly. I look up at the security camera and, just as I suspected, it's a minivan. I know what's coming next: Six large chocolate milkshakes, and I have 30 seconds to make them before her vehicle arrives at the window. With a little help from my fellow team members, we present the woman and the clamoring youngsters with beautifully adorned milkshakes and bid them a good evening. "It's our pleasure," we beam as she rolls up her window and turns behind her to tell the kids to calm down.
The New Yorker ran a hit piece on Chick-fil-A today, claiming that the restaurant chain is creepily infiltrating New York City. The author, Dan Piepenbring, shared a quote from Chick-fil-A’s vice-president of restaurant experience David Farmer, that he strives for a “pit crew efficiency, but where you feel like you just got hugged in the process.” As a former Chick-fil-A employee, I can testify to the truth of this, and it's this service model that makes customers like the woman I served that Friday night keep coming back. At Chick-fil-A, people eat food they like and are treated with startling courtesy in the process. It works. But, not everyone is impressed.
Piepenbring spent his lunch hour the other day at Chick-fil-A's Fulton Street restaurant in Manhattan and it seems he had quite a harrowing experience, describing the speedy service with a smile as "industrial but claustral." An outline of the New York City skyline struck him as a "misguided nod to 9/11." Chick-fil-A's "morbid" advertising forced him to confront "the brutalities of the slaughterhouse." All the while, he seemed to be the only one who could see through the smoke and mirrors. The high-quality food, the A+ service and the environmentally friendly restaurant were all attempts to proselytize unsuspecting customers.
Every now and then, Chick-fil-A makes it back into the headlines as writers try to rehash the same story about CEO Dan Cathy's religious views, specifically in regards to gay marriage. You hardly see a Chick-fil-A grand opening in a major city without some degree of protest these days. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio even called for a Chick-fil-A boycott, which failed miserably. Despite all this opposition and negative press, Chick-fil-A continues to be a roaring success across the United States. QSR Magazine reported that in 2017, Chick-fil-A's sales per store surpassed global fast-food giants McDonald's and KFC despite only being open 6 days a week. Buzzfeed reported that Chick-fil-A is on its way to being America's third-largest fast-food chain. Even at the Fulton Street location in Manhattan, lunchtime lines wrap around the block. Yet, amid all this, liberal opinion writers, journalists and politicians continue to be dumbfounded.
What strikes me about these repeated attempts at brand assassination is that the liberal elite cannot fathom the fact that people like Chick-fil-A. People think the food is delicious, people enjoy being treated well and yes, people like that Chick-fil-A's mission is to glorify God. In fact, they like it so much that each restaurant rakes in more than $4 million a year. Numbers and success don't lie; Chick-fil-A's values are more mainstream than elitists on the left care to admit – even among members of their own political party! Another falsehood the media likes to spread is that Chick-fil-A's only customers are conservative evangelicals, but this falls woefully short of the truth and shows how far the liberal elite have distanced themselves from the American public.
I hope Chick-fil-A's success serves as a lesson to the leftist aristocracy. I hope they learn that most people actually don't think like they do. I hope they learn that Christian values still have a place in American society. If they don't learn these lessons, they'll only become further removed from everyday Americans.
If you read this and wonder if you're out of touch or not, ask yourself this question: "Am I triggered by a chicken sandwich?"