Chick-fil-A: Putting customers at the heart of the fast-food experience

A single-minded focus on customers and second-mile service drives customer loyalty.

Jeffrey Mango

Jeffrey Mango

Managing Director, Advisory Customer Solutions, KPMG US

+1 404-614-8757

Chick-fil-A’s recipe for customer service features several tried-and-true ingredients: clean restaurants, polite employees, and a single-minded focus on delivering what customers want.  This year, Chick-fil-A moved up five spots to rank third overall in KPMG’s 2019 U.S. Customer Experience Excellence Report, and also placed first in the restaurant and fast food category


Every year for the past decade, this report has revealed findings about consumers and their individual experiences with brands they interact with. The research found that brands with a strong commitment to outstanding customer experience (CX) and value-driven relationships can reap the rewards of customer retention and loyalty.


Read the report: The connected experience—2019 U.S. Customer Experience Excellence Report.


The report outlines The Six Pillars of Customer Experience that impact CX success: Personalization, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time and Effort, and Empathy. It also explores approaches and strategies that brands can use to move beyond organizational constraints and outdated practices in order to embrace the latest standards of customer experience excellence. And it showcases leading brands that are facing their CX challenges—and overcoming them.


Recognized by respondents for its values, food, and personal services, one respondent said, “Chick-fil-A is always a great place to get food that I feel good about eating. I love their vision… Their service is exceptional.”


At Chick-fil-A, the center of the customer experience is the employee. Its employee training is thorough and designed to reinforce the desired behaviors within its operations. Called Core 4, employees learn specific behaviors that make for a better customer experience. But responsibility for delivering a pleasant CX doesn’t end with training. Employees are also expected to extend second-mile service to minimize customer effort and create frictionless processes such as:

·       Employees take orders using tablets from guests waiting in the drive-thru line

·       Mom’s Valet enables guests to reserve a table inside the restaurant while ordering in the drive-thru line.

·       Free delivery service is offered at 1100 restaurants nationwide with its partner, DoorDash.


The organization is also investing in technology and new services to improve the customer experience. Over the past few years, for example, it launched a highly successful app for digital orders. Based on information we received from Chic-fil-A, the app scored anaverage 4.9 out of 5 by more than 700,000 customers. Chick-fil-A now derives 20 percent of its orders from the digital option.


Putting customers at the heart of the fast-food experience, combined with training employees to provide it, is Chick-fil-A’s key to successful CX. It is reflected in their revenues, which were  $10.5 billion in 2018; more than double the $4.6 billion earned in 2014. And revenues per restaurant rose to $4.6 million from $2.8 million between 2012 and 2019.1


Learn more about the other brands that are winning the CX challenge by reading the report.  


1 Source: Business Insider, Chick-fil-A is now the third largest restaurant chain in America, 2019 


(1)Source: Business InsiderChick-fil-A is now the third largest restaurant chain in America, 2019