When Chick-Fil-A first came to Bloomington-Normal, people were, shall we say, enthusiastic. I lived in North Carolina for two years almost twenty years ago, where Chick-Fil-A abound. I ate it a few times during my tenure in the south, but didn’t find it particularly special. I mean, chicken is chicken, right?
So, if we’re being honest, I didn’t understand the Central Illinois fervor. People were literally counting down the days until it opened. And once it finally unlocked its doors to the public, oh boy, the lines were legendary.
In fact, to this day, if it’s anywhere close to mealtime, you’re going to see their drive-thrus (yes, they have two lanes) crammed with cars.
Apparently, the BLO-NO passion for Chick-Fil-A has not weakened.
And even though I am among the Chick-Fil-A faithful now, it’s not because of the food. I still maintain that chicken is chicken.
Whenever we decide to do fast food, I’m the first to suggest Chick-Fil-A for an entirely different reason — a regrettable reason.
The first time we went to Chick-Fil-A here in town (which was long after everyone else paid it a visit), I was astounded.
They were so nice.
They were polite, courteous, warm, engaged, gracious, and just … nice!
The whole experience satisfied me in a way I had not expected. Was I really so starved for good customer service?
We’ve been back three or four times since, and every time we are treated the same way. Clearly, exceptional manners are part of their business model. I have no idea if they hire only those who are predisposed to affability or if they have to train their employees to be considerate, but it totally works on me.
I don’t go to Chick-Fil-A for the food, I go for the experience.
Isn’t that sort of sad? Is our general customer service so poor that we are surprised when workers present themselves professionally with a smile? Honestly, I never paid it much attention at other places, particularly fast food places, because I know the employees aren’t making much, don’t have the opportunity for a tip, and probably don’t have a ton of job satisfaction. But then Chick-Fil-A came along and blew my whole paradigm.
What’s it say that Chick-Fil-A rose above the fast food competition by encouraging their employees to be nice?
By the way, if you want to argue with me that their manners are fake, that they aren’t being sincerely nice, that they are just trying to keep their jobs, that’s fine. I’ll take fake nice over authentic grumpy with my (waffle) fries any day of the week.
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)