Editor’s Note: In the limited-service restaurant industry, some brands become standard bearers for the rest of the business, prime examples for how to run certain aspects of a restaurant. McDonald’s, of course, has long been one for its marketing, scale, and efficiency. In the last five years, Chipotle has climbed to that position by being the pioneer in the fast-casual space. And when it comes to great customer service and a dedication to a brand’s core values, there is no better example than Chick-fil-A.
In a message sent to employees today, Chick-fil-A announced that its founder and chairman emeritus, S. Truett Cathy, died at 1:35 a.m. Monday at the age of 93. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones.
Chick-fil-A is partnering with THRIVE Farmers Coffee to introduce the quick-serve industry’s first-ever specialty-grade coffee. The coffee was created specifically for the chain and is available in restaurants nationwide. The sale of each cup of coffee provides direct revenue to THRIVE Farmers network of family farmers in Central America, allowing them to earn up to 10 times more than farmers earn in traditional revenue models.
Atlanta Hall Management (AHM) announced the new College Football Hall of Fame will open its doors on Saturday, August 23, in the heart of downtown Atlanta’s sports and entertainment district. The Hall also revealed its new logo and Chick-fil-A’s lead sponsorship of the new College Football Hall of Fame. The attraction will officially be called the “College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience.” Tickets and memberships will be available beginning August 1 for purchase through the Hall’s newly launched website.
With new limited-service brands emerging at a rapid pace, consumers have more dining choices than ever, and their preferences are proving that established national concepts could learn a thing or two from these smaller, younger chains. According to a nationwide study on consumers’ favorite quick-service chains from Market Force Information, brands like Firehouse Subs, Qdoba, and Papa Murphy’s rank better for customer satisfaction compared to more established category players like Subway, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.
Fast food gets a bad rap. The industry is actively cutting back on calories, sodium, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and other ingredient components that are detrimental to nutrition, but consumers and watchdogs alike are still quick to point fingers when the nation’s health woes come under debate.
Chick-fil-A is introducing a new lineup of grilled chicken entrées that will give the chain a nutritious and expansive grilled menu. On April 14, the Atlanta-based restaurant chain will officially rollout three new entrées—the Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, and Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets—in an ongoing effort to provide more flavorful and craveable grilled options for its nutrition-minded customers.
I’ve been a “lifer” with this family business called Chick-fil-A. I started visiting our family restaurant, The Dwarf Grill, nine months before I was born. When we were very young, my dad [Truett Cathy] would take me, my brother, and my sister to the restaurant, where we would not only scrape the chewing gum from the bottom of seats and tables, but we would entertain guests with table-side songs. We were reluctant at first—especially since we had to wear the dwarf costumes that my grandmother made for us—but after a while, people started giving us tips.
Q: What does it take for a quick-service brand to become a great brand?
A: I get this question all the time. Many people look at superstar brands like Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Nike and mistakenly conclude those companies achieved their successes as a result of good timing, great advertising, or just plain luck. But I’ve found that these companies have employed specific, somewhat surprising, techniques that have turned them into industry icons.
Technomic has announced the winners of the 2014 Chain Restaurant Consumers' Choice Awards, which are based on consumer responses to the research and consulting firm's ongoing brand study.