I have known about Chick-fil-A restaurants for years from passing by their clever “Eat Mor Chikin” billboards. I’ve heard the stories of the founder’s faith, knew they weren’t open on Sundays, and remember the long lines of customers supporting the franchise when it came under attack for their beliefs. But until two years ago I’d never eaten at Chick-fil-A.It’s nothing against the restaurant itself, I just don’t do fast food. But that all changed two years ago when my son, Noah, began working at Chick-fil-A. Now I’m a walking commercial for the company.
I didn’t realize just how much of a blessing our son’s new job would be for our family. We encouraged Noah to apply because he wouldn’t have to work on Sunday and we loved that. But as he began work I quickly realized what an asset Chick-fil-A is to moms hungering for support in a very unsupportive world. As a mother of eight, I appreciate any support I can get in raising good sons and daughters.
Our son has literally grown up at Chick-fil-A. His father and I laid the groundwork and foundation for our values—hard work, courtesy, service, and the importance of cleanliness but what a breath of fresh air to have the company he works for reinforcing those same values. Our son is not only learning the value of work, business management, and workplace relationships, he is gaining priceless experience, knowledge, wisdom and the value of good character. But that’s not the only reason moms get giddy when a Chick-fil-A opens in their town. It is not only a family-friendly place. It is a place families love to come—because of the company’s standards.
American culture has changed dramatically in the last forty years. It used to be a lot easier to raise a family in America—back when society was an ally and resource instead of a direct threat.Steven Covey addressed this in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.
“In the past,” said Covey, “it was easier to raise a family…because society was an ally, a resource. People were surrounded by role models, examples, media reinforcement, and family-friendly laws and support systems that sustained marriage and helped create strong families. Even when there were problems within the family, there was still this powerful reinforcement of the whole idea of successful marriage and family life.Success was much more a matter of ‘going with the flow, but the jet stream has changed—dramatically. And to ‘go with the flow’ today is family-fatal.”
In a world where everything seems to be going against the family, it is really nice to find an ally. I found that ally at Chick-fil-A. I’ll never forget the day my son called me just a few minutes after dropping him off at work to ask if I could come pick him up.
“What’s wrong,” I asked as all the usual visions of a mom’s biggest worries went through my head.
“I forgot to shave this morning,” he quietly responded. “I can’t clock in until I shave.”
I LOVE Chick-fil-A!
Our son has come to appreciate the value of standards from the company’s strict grooming policy. He learned the value of service and sacrifice while sweating in a cow suit for hours, with dozens of children pulling at his tail and begging for pictures. Their customer service policy has got to be my favorite by far. Every employee is expected to treat the customer with utmost respect and courtesy. Every time a customer says, “thank-you” they are required to reply, “my pleasure.” It’s become such a habit for Noah it has carried over into our home. I can’t tell you how cool that is—although he smarts every time he catches himself saying “my pleasure” to his little brother. Which, of course, has caused his little brother to say thank you a lot more. Bonus! A former manager at the company told me, “Working with those kids at Chick-fil-a has given me hope for America’s future.” I totally agree.
A few months into his job, Noah asked if the whole family could go to Chick-fil-A for their Family Fun Night.After watching the change come over our son and positively affect our whole family, I thought I should at least go and try the food. I was stunned at what I found when we pulled in the parking lot. The place was packed and lines of families spilled out the door.I decided this may not the best day to visit but my son persuaded us to persevere through the line assuring us it would be worth it; and he was right. It was amazing to see all the families, dressed in some sort of cow costume or another, eating together, playing together, and talking together. And no matter how many people crowded in for their free chicken sandwich, the kids behind the counter smiled and really seemed to enjoy the challenge and opportunity to serve their customers. And much to my surprise, I found the food was actually pretty darn good—they could make a killing on that Chick-fil-A sauce on the open market.
I now have a whole new appreciation for those cow signs dotting the highway. I understand why families pour into the restaurant; why moms look with a gleam in their eye when they see the “Now Hiring” sign go up; and why comedian Tim Hawkins penned his famous Chick-fil-A song, singing “I can eat there seven times a day.”
As I round the corner of our local Chick-fil-A store with the parking lot once again full, and the usual long line of cars in the drive thru, the melodic sound of teenagers repeating, “My pleasure” echoes in my ears and I just have to smile because now I know the secret too. Chick-fil-A is a mom’s best friend!