Why Chick-fil-A workers always say ‘my pleasure’

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”.

Although it’s a small gesture, the courteous response fits the Chick-fil-A attitude. positioning itself as a chain of chicken sandwiches with hospitable service, in addition to putting flowers on the tables and employees Go outside to take customer orders while they wait in their cars.
“It all fits into the larger perception of Chick-fil-A as a family-run fast food place with better quality service than most,” said Adam Chandler, journalist and author of “Drive-Thru Dreams.”
The origins of the courtesy began in 2001, at the company’s annual seminar for franchise owners, according to Steve Robinson, a longtime former chief marketing officer for Chick-fil-A, in his book “Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A “.

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.

Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist who has attributed the success of her chicken empire in part to her Christian faith, believed using the phrase would wow customers and stand out in the fast food industry. She once called it a “head turner,” according to the company.

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”

Today, “my pleasure” is a brand slogan and part of the popular lore around Chick-fil-A, which had 2,730 outlets and hit nearly $16 billion in sales in 2021, according to Technomic, a research firm. research and consultancy for the food industry. (Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family and is now run by a grandson of Truett Cathy, who died in 2014.)

“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.)

Like closing on Sundays: Truett Cathy once said “it’s a silent testimony of the Lord when people walk into the malls [on Sunday]and everyone’s buzzing, and you see Chick-fil-A is closed,” saying “it’s my pleasure” is symbolic of the company spirit.

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.

Although Chick-fil-A has been a polarizing company in the past for its opposition to same-sex marriage and its support of anti-LGBTQ organizations, it has ranked at the top of the American Customer Service Index for limited service. and fast food chains for seven years in a row.

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.”

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