Why Chick-fil-A employees always say “with pleasure”

But two decades ago, Chick-fil-A borrowed from The Ritz-Carlton a tactic that would become a centerpiece of its brand culture: employees responding to customers who thank them with “please” rather than “please.” or “no problem”.

Although it’s a small gesture, the polite response fits into the Chick-fil-A image. positioning as a chain of chicken sandwiches hospitable servicealong with laying flowers on tables and staff go outside to take customer orders while they wait in their cars.
“This is all in line with the broader perception of Chick-fil-A as a family-run fast food establishment with better service than most,” said Adam Chandler, journalist and author.Automobile dreams.
The origins of the courtesy began in 2001 at the company’s annual workshop for franchise owners, according to Steve Robinson, a former longtime marketing director for Chick-fil-A, in his book “Secret cows and Chick-fil-A.”

Chick-fil-A founder Cathy Truett told the group a story about visiting the Ritz-Carlton. Whenever Kathy thanked the hotel employee, he smiled and replied: “With pleasure.”

At the time, Chick-fil-A, which Cathy founded in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia, was trying to expand beyond the South and differentiate the brand nationally from fast food chains with a reputation for poor customer service.

Kathy, devout Southern Baptist attributed the success of his chicken empire in part to his Christian faith, believe that using this phrase will surprise customers and make them stand out in the fast food industry. He once called it “vertigo.” Company.

So he asked Chick-fil-A’s managers and employees to start saying “with pleasure” when customers thanked them, but Robinson says many were hesitant at first.

This was until 2003, when Katie’s son, Dan, who later became CEO, he began to say “with pleasure” himself and push others to follow his example – this became an unwritten rule in the company, which remains to this day.

“It dawned on me that this could be a service card for us, almost like two pickles on a sandwich,” Dan said to Cathy. Chick-fil-A executives hired a head of marketing to overhaul their entire service strategy, which has expanded to include training employees to greet customers with a smile, make eye contact and speak with enthusiasm.

“My pleasure and Chick-fil-A go hand in hand”

Today, “my pleasure” is the brand’s catchphrase and part of popular lore about Chick-fil-A, which had 2,730 outlets and reached almost $16 billion in sales in 2021, according to Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm. (Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family and is now run by Trutt’s grandson Cathy, who died in 2014.)

“My Pleasure” is printed on Chick-fil-A souvenir T-shirts and is the title of a fan-made podcast. It’s often rumored on social media that you’ll get free food if you say “with pleasure” to an employee. (You will not.)

Like closing on sundays — Truet Cathy once said “it’s a silent witness to the Lord when people go to the malls [on Sunday]and everyone is fussing and you see that Chick-fil-A is closed,” the phrase “with pleasure” is a symbol of the spirit of the company.

“The chain’s business cards of being closed on Sunday and saying ‘pleasantly’ are almost as important to brand identity as food,” said Adam Chandler.

Although Chick-fil-A has been a controversial company in the past due to its opposition to same-sex marriage and support for anti-LGBT organizations, it has been ranked #1 on the American Customer Service Index for limited service and fast food chains for seven years in a row.

Of course, employees simply saying “with pleasure” are not the reason a company tops the customer service rankings. But “my pleasure and Chick-fil-A go hand in hand,” said Emily Gilmour, manager of Chick-fil-A in Concord, North Carolina.

It sometimes takes a while for new hires to get used to the phrase, she says, but it eventually becomes second nature, even when they’re not at work.

“I say this at home too. It drives my husband crazy,” Gilmour said. “He says, ‘Can’t you just say please?’ And I’m like, “No, I can’t.” Now it just comes naturally to me.”

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