Chick-fil-A and Church Marketing

May 25, 2007 by

Some of you out west might have no idea what I’m talking about. My Church Marketing Sucks colleagues probably don’t have a strong idea of what I’m talking about. But down South, it’s all about the Christian Chicken.

Within 10 miles of my house, there are 10 Chick-fil-A restaurants. One is open 24 hours a day. Well, almost. It closes at 11:59 p.m. Saturday night and reopens at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning. It’s a lifestyle and an addiction–chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and sweet tea, that is.

As you probably know, I’m a Christian. As you probably don’t know, Chick-fil-A’s mission statement is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” I love this. They don’t evangelize traditionally. They don’t impose their beliefs, despite their position as nearly omniscient autocrat of chicken.

They use their platform to love all and to serve all. Let’s be honest, Hard Rock Cafe has nothing on them. Think my opinion is biased because of my faith? Check out this editorial article from the West Virginia University newspaper.

Chick-fil-A is not a church, so why should your church care what they do? Because they’re making a huge impact. They market themselves as a non-obtrusive place to be loved and served, and individuals like this editor are moved by that. Maybe if our churches marketed themselves a little bit more like this, we could eliminate some of the tension between the church world and the secular world.

I think we could all learn a lot from Chick-fil-A–unless you don’t have one near you, that is. In which case, you might want to hurry and head here.

(link via Daniel Baily)

More on Chick-Fil-A: Go to Church, Get Free Chicken

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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19 Responses to “Chick-fil-A and Church Marketing”

  • C. Michael Pilato
    May 25, 2007

    Maybe, like Chick-fil-A, we should close our church doors on Sundays so our “owners” are free to worship with their families if they choose.
    Wait. No. Let me rethink that…

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  • Jeff Boren
    May 25, 2007

    I think much of Chick-Fil-A’s success comes from a simple strategy. Our church has taken these lessons to heart by implementing the strategy laid out in “Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples” by Thom S. Rainer & Eric Geiger.
    Mr. Pilato is on the right track. In this day of ball practice, dance class, homework, ball games, working late, mow the lawn, etc., etc., etc. families don’t have time to rest. And if you are involved in church leadership, there’s another wasted day.
    Our church has decided to focus on what can make a difference. We are stressing worship and children on Sunday morning and our Community Groups meet throughout the week at a time convenient for the group members.
    So, like Chick-fil-A, we actually close our church doors on Sunday nights so our “owners” are free to worship with their families.
    Many people might say that sounds liberal, but what’s liberal about strong biblical teaching (Sunday Worship), building strong Christian friendships (Community Groups), and building strong families (Simple Church).

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  • Cary Yoke
    May 25, 2007

    Down her ein Cary, NC, there are 5 or 6 Chick-fil-A’s nearby, packed to the gills with customers on Friday’s and Saturdays.
    I have to commend them for not giving in to wanting that business on Sundays. I think it is that public stance and committment to family that is one of the reasons so many in there are parents with children.
    Maybe if some Churches were less temped to take advantage of all the potential ‘worker bees’ at worship on Sunday morning by having them stay through the rest of Sunday in committee and business meetings, there may be more of a family aspect as well?

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  • Mean Dean
    May 25, 2007

    Again I think we’re seeing here the ellison between church polity and church marketing.
    That is, where practice impacts perception of participants.
    My feeling is that this entire subject could be made moot if churches would leverage telecommuting technologies better.
    Meaning, no need to have a long-winded committee meeting after worship on a beautiful sunny Sunday – when Skype, ReadyTalk or some other conferencing service could be leveraged at a time convenient to all that doesn’t eat into family time.

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  • Matt
    May 29, 2007

    I love Chik-Fil-A and frequent the establishment. There are three here in Columbus Ohio and they do have the best sweet tea around. I’m a sweet tea-aholic. At the annual Catalyst Conference about 4 years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Truett Cathy speak about his company. He received an award and there was even a live cow brought on stage for buzz. This company is a perfect example of how God wants us to be. So many people think that to do well in the business world you have to be cut throat and negative, but I’m glad to see that there is a business out there that has it right.

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  • Fred
    May 29, 2007

    I love Chick-fil-A! I agree that the Church can learn from the example of Truett Cathy. He has made business decisions that were based on his faith and principles that the world does not understand. In business school I heard it discussed that it was a marketing decision to be closed on Sundays – some business people think all decisions are made based on the bottom line. I do believe that Chick-fil-A has prospered because of this decision. But I also believe they have one heck of a good chicken sandwich.

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  • R.F.
    January 28, 2008

    As a Christian, I think it is wonderful what the company does, by closing on Sunday’s to allow their employees to attend church. IF you should go to their website, you’ll see that their Mission Statement is: “Be America’s Best Quick-Service Restaurant”. In my opinion, they are the best quick service restaurant & most polite. Don’t be so quick to judge!

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  • Cliff Hilton
    March 17, 2008

    With Chick fil A closing on Sunday does not make them Christian nor an example. If all restaurnants, gas stations, police stations, grocery stores, refineries, hospitals,…you get my drift, would close on Sunday, what do you think would happen! Don’t you eat out somewhere every Sunday, or go get groceries, or drive out to see mom and dad,….
    You would have to cook and clean yourself (no day of rest for you). If Chick fil A is an example, don’t do anything on Sunday that requires others to work. Stay home after going to church…(if you got your gas the night before), and I hope you don’t get in a wreck on the way there or back because no one will answer the phone to come help. And the lights go out on Sunday because all the power station people went home until Monday. And by the way, Chick fil A has the third highest transfat content among its peers. For every 1% increase in transfat consumption, you will gain 2.3 pounds. Sweet tea…!, try good tea without sugar. You will be healthier.
    Chick fil A is a business. They will operate it successfully. They are not a the best example due to their caloric and simple carb offerings. They do a good job of marketing…to kids. Moms do follow. I think Mikey D’s started this.

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  • glen burnie
    July 1, 2008

    first off–the sabbath is from friday sundown to saturday sundown-also-jesus was a if you believe in jesus then you should probably worship on jewish holidays.

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  • Georgia Fence Company
    September 15, 2008

    Chick fil a is an excellent business. Notice that there are four major links on their website, one of which is “our people” (not our staff) and “community”! In one day, MacD’s spends Chickfilas yearly marketing budget. Keep that in mind. Moreover, Chickfila does one of the best and most profitable things a company can do, they help the community while growing their business. They are a truly great company.

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  • SoCalNoGod
    September 25, 2008

    I am I HUGE fan of Chick Fil A but not a Christian, catholic or anything for that matter. I find myself pulling into the local Chick Fil A on Sunday because Sunday is just another day and sometimes falls off my radar. Of course I have to make the loop and go to the In N Out next door. I get kind of annoyed by that, everyone has the right to open their business when they want but as a large national chain CF depends on the general public to make money. It’s hard for me to explain but I thought of it as a religious rub in the face.
    Today was my last trip to CF, got my meal in in my bag was 2 or 3 fliers for a new movie with Kirk Cameron called Fireproof. Children of the 80’s know Kirks story, he ran the show Growing Pains into the ground because he found something about most of the other actors or writers or the script that wasn’t part of his beliefs as a “reborn Christian”. As soon as I saw his name on the flier I knew what “type” of movie this would be and the feeling of two guys in white shirts , black ties with bibles in hand at my front door came over me. Is it silly for me to feel this way, I don’t know, but it is the way I feel.
    BTW I never missed a Growing Pains show as a young teen and it wasn’t till years later when I heard the story about Kirk. I thought he would have been the next Michael J Fox, movie star, we see where that went.

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  • Fence Atlanta
    October 9, 2008

    Well it takes only 5 grand to start a CF! But….years of service with the organization before you get the opportunity to be in a group of about 1000 others and then in the end…there is only 1. To me, that means that this company has the worlds best screening process for a food franchise. CF is just awesome.

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  • Fence Atlanta
    October 9, 2008

    Well it takes only 5 grand to start a CF! But….years of service with the organization before you get the opportunity to be in a group of about 1000 others and then in the end…there is only 1. To me, that means that this company has the worlds best screening process for a food franchise. CF is just awesome.

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  • Samantha
    June 4, 2009

    I work at Chick-Fil-A. All customers seem to show up with a privileged attitude demanding stuff and we’re supposed to pretend to be overjoyed that they’ve entered the store. Most of the managers are insane, sit down all the time, and get annoyed if they are required to move to help a customer–no, not that! So, pretty much the employees are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Now, I’m a Christian, but I hate God’s name being used to make money. Chick-Fil-A sells themself as a Christian restaurant. But, this is just a facade. One minute, other employees are saying “Guess what just f’ing happened. I brought my boyfriend over to my house last night, and…[more explicit details to follow].” Then, the next minute, these same employees wish customers a “blessed day.” Yeah, right. To sum it all up, Chick-Fil-A pimps out employees in God’s name.

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  • gabriel
    October 14, 2009

    Mixing religion with faith is for the retarded–period. As far as Chick-crap-a goes, their food stinks…it’s nothing more than a blander, drier McChicken for 5 bucks. It doesn’t even come with lettuce, mayo or tomato. As for closing for the sabbath…IDIOTS!! Everyone knows the sabbath is from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Worshiping is retarded, worshiping on Sunday is even more retarded.

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  • Church Doors
    January 18, 2010

    I talked a couple of managers of Chick company. Frankly they enjoy the day off and why the may be christian based the moral the generate for all the employees is pretty substantial. They enjoy two hard earned principles in American business. When the store does well they do well. The second is when yo treat people with decency it comes back in waves. I have yet to meet a person working there who was unhappy or out of sorts.

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  • nate
    January 21, 2013

    I love Chick-fil-a for many reasons… One being their food and the other for their values. I know a lot of people think the are bigots, but they do not force that on other people. People know their values because they have been asked in public. I would rather a company being blatantly honest then to lie. I also read that even being closed on Sunday Chick-Fil-A generates more profit per store the Mcdonalds which is a pretty cool fact.

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  • David Winfrey
    January 23, 2013

    Does anyone know what happened with the CFA lawsuit against the maker of “Eat More Kale” T-shirts?

    If they haven’t dropped their suit, and reimbursed him for his legal expenses, and apologized sincerely, then that’s an excellent reason to eat somewhere else.

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  • I think what they have done is evolved the way to promote faith… through trying to be a good example. I use the word trying because I think non-belivers sometimes mistakenly believe that when a person is attempting to live by Godly principals, that they think them selves of a higher ground when nothing could be more untrue.

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