But two decades ago, Chick-fil-A borrowed a tactic from The Ritz-Carlton that would become a core element of its brand culture: employees responding to customers by saying “it’s my pleasure” instead of “thank you.” any”. ” or “no problem”.
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy told the group a story about a visit to a Ritz-Carlton. Every time Cathy thanked a hotel employee, the employee would smile and reply, “My pleasure.”
At the time, Chick-fil-A, which Cathy founded in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia, was trying to expand beyond the South and distinguish the brand nationally from fast-food chains with a reputation for lackluster customer service.
So he asked Chick-fil-A managers and staff to start saying “it’s my pleasure” when customers thanked them, but many were hesitant at first, according to Robinson.
It wasn’t until 2003, when Cathy’s son, Dan, who later became CEO, he began to say himself “it’s a pleasure” and push others to do the same, which became an unwritten rule in the company, as it still is today.
“I realized this could be a service signature for us, almost like two pickles in a sandwich,” said Dan Cathy. Chick-fil-A leaders turned to a marketing executive to review their entire service strategy, which grew to include training workers to greet customers with a smile, make eye contact, and speak with an enthusiastic voice.
“My pleasure and Chick-fil-A go hand in hand”
“My Pleasure” is printed on Chick-fil-A souvenir t-shirts and is the name of a fan podcast. Rumors often circulate on social media that he will get free food if he says “gladly” to an employee. (You will not do it.)
The chain’s “calling cards of closing on Sundays and saying ‘a pleasure’ are almost as important to the brand identity as the food,” said Adam Chandler.
Of course, workers simply saying “it’s my pleasure” isn’t the reason the company tops the customer service rankings. But “it’s a treat and Chick-fil-A go hand in hand,” said Emily Gilmore, manager of Chick-fil-A in Concord, North Carolina.
Sometimes it takes new employees a while to get used to the phrase, he said, but eventually it becomes second nature, even when they’re not at work.
“I say it at home too. It drives my husband completely crazy,” Gilmore said. “He says ‘Can’t you just say, you’re welcome?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I can’t.’ Now it feels natural to me.”