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Chick-Fil-A Case Study: Brand Strategy Breakdown

Aug 05, 2023
Chick-Fil-A Case Study

When you have little kids, you analyze every single outing. Especially when it comes to eating food. Waiting in long lines, getting an order wrong, and all the other common fast food qualms are amplified when you have kids tagging along.

That’s why I trust my life with Chick-fil-a.

They GET it. Their drive through moves along like a Nascar pit stop. Their employees treat customers like Kings and Queens. And that Chick-fil-a sauce always hits just right.

That’s why they’re this week’s brand breakdown.

Let’s get into it…

💛 The Heart (Purpose & Personality)

Chick-fil-A was birthed by Truett Cathy in 1946 when he opened the Dwarf Grill in 1946. It was here that he literally invented the fried chicken sandwich.

Fun Fact: You can actually visit the original location today and order off their special diner menu — which even includes hamburgers 😱

But what makes this story so special is Truett’s devotion to build Chick-fil-A with purpose. Truett, being a devout Christian, described it as "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."

He even made it standard that they close all stores on Sunday.

Over the years, this has been translated into a set of clear values that sets their business apart and makes them stand out as a fast food restaurant.

When you think of fast food spots — you don’t typically think of a “Connected” experience — but that’s exactly what you get when you visit a Chick-fil-A.

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👤 The Head (Strategy & Positioning)

At most fast food spots, you get garbage food… with garbage service… at a low price.

But Chick-fil-A decided to flip the script and serve high quality food… with excellent service… and NEVER discount their prices.

And when I say “excellent service” I mean it. I once went through a drive through and ordered my 2 kids (both very little at the time) a kid’s meal. One of the drinks was a chocolate milk bottle that didn’t come with a straw, unlike a boxed juice does.

It’s fine for a 5 or 6 year old, but for my 2.5 year old daught it was an accident waiting to happen. But I didn’t ask for a straw. The drive through worker looked at my back seat, saw my young daughter, and offered a “bendy” straw.

I was floored. This wasn’t trained, it was “values” embodied. This employee was approaching her work to serve and connect with others — not just to clock out. 

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✋ The Hands (Tactics You Can Steal)

Here’s just a few of the ways Chick-fil-A puts their strategy into action…

Revolutionary Drive Through Experience — CFA destroys the wait times of other fast food spots by putting staff outside the building to take orders. It’s so efficient that local governments sought out CFA’s advice during COVID to manage their drive through vaccine spots.

App Designed for Service, Not Just Profit — CFA designed their app for 2 simple reasons and both align with their values Reason #1) Provide a better, faster on-the-go service and Reason #2) Reward loyal customers.

“My Pleasure” — Go to a CFA and say “Thank you” to any employee and you’re guaranteed to hear a “My pleasure.” Why? Founder, Truett Cathy, once noticed a Ritz Carlton employee who said it any time he said thank you and it stood out to him. Wanting to make CFA stand out against other fast food joints with subpar service, he implemented it across the entire company.

How You Can Steal Their Strategy

Put People First - Seems like a no-brainer, but in the chase for profits, this is an often overlooked strategy. Especially when the industry is as cut throat as fast food. But you don’t have to be in fast food to put this into action. Regardless of what business you’re in, you’re in the business of helping people. Take the time to consider their wants, needs, desires, and pain points. Don’t forget them, and then go serve them better than anyone else.

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