Chick-fil-A is renowned for their customer service. The national franchise expects each employee to treat every customer as if he or she were a friend or neighbor.
Sarah Medeiros, a student and a former employee, said, “One [portion of training] focuses on the importance of being respectful and kind to everyone you meet because you never know what is going on in someone’s life. Who knows whether that person has had a fabulous day or an absolutely dreadful day?”
She added, “Instead of just giving the customer the order they asked for, we serve them. We ask them how their day is going, offer to refill their drink for them while they are still sitting down, and always asking them if there is anyway you can serve them today.”
Medeiros also explained how her boss taught her to always respect her customers, just in case they’re having a tough day. The same goes for rude or impatient customers. She said, “They could have had a really bad day and that’s why they are being rude or difficult.”
Medeiros learned to give every customer the benefit of the doubt, because you cannot completely judge a person based on their attitude for the couple of minutes you take their order.
Ashley Bishop, an employee at the Oxford store, explains why the Chick-fil-A here sets itself apart from other fast-food restaurants. “We try to have a connection with our customers,” she said. “We have many regulars, so we try to get to know them and call them by name. When customers feel at home at the restaurant, they want to come back. The friendliness makes them feel welcome and creates a certain aspect of customer loyalty.”
Chick-fil-A is owned and run by the Cathy family. While they may not be at every store in the franchise, they clearly instill their family values within their company and their employees are a reflection of those values.
Chick-fil-A considers charity work part of their commitment to the Oxford community. The Chick-fil-A Foundation focuses on outreach. The foundation raises millions of dollars for a number of programs, including sponsorships for youth, families, and their own employees. To name one program, the company donates sandwiches to victims of natural disasters. Recently, victims of the Colorado wildfires and the Midwestern and Southern tornados over the past couple of years have enjoyed chicken sandwiches in their moment’s of need.
Chick-fil-A also donates food to children’s hospitals and the military.
Another charitable group associated with the company, the WinShape Foundation, also founded by Truett Cathy, aims to help people of all ages. As written in Chick-fil-A’s mission statement, which can be found online: “We are here to intentionally serve others by creating meaningful opportunities for personal growth, and we are committed to helping you discover the defining moments that will shape your future — no matter where you are in life.”
Chick-fil-A makes a statement locally in each market it serves by donating food or money, or simply taking the time to get to know the people in the community. Bishop said, “This is a customer service restaurant. If it weren’t for our customer service, we wouldn’t even be here.”
Photos and story by Elizabeth Ervin. Elizabeth is a journalism student at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.