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9 Strict Rules That Chick-fil-A Employees Have to Follow

The chain seems to believe that a clean-cut appearance is at the heart of good customer service.

It's no secret that Chick-fil-A excels at customer service. The chain has topped the American Consumer Satisfaction Index for an incredible seven years in a row, outpacing the industry average back in 2021 by a full five points.

But being the industry leader in customer satisfaction isn't easy. From its strict "Closed on Sunday" policy to its careful vetting of store operators (by one estimate, it's 30 times more difficult to become a Chick-fil-A franchisee than it is to get into Harvard), the chicken chain is famous for its high standards.

Chick-fil-A is no less scrupulous when it comes to the rules and regulations imposed on its employees. As revealed in a post on Reddit—which shows a few pages from a Chick-fil-A employee handbook—the chain holds its Team Members to an exceptionally high standard of conduct and appearance.

Ranging widely from the semi-reasonable to the bizarre, here's a look at seven of Chick-fil-A's most bizarre employee rules.

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Employees are encouraged to say "My Pleasure" as a response to "Thank you"


While the content of Chick-fil-A's employee handbooks varies by region, many include an informal set of rules governing employee speech and affect. Known as "2nd Mile Service"—or customer service that goes above and beyond—the guideline does not outright require Chick-fil-A employees to say "My Pleasure" to customers. But, it does stipulate that all customers should experience "at least one element of 2nd Mile Experience," and receiving a "My pleasure" is the only specific example of "2nd Mile Experience" available in the Chick-fil-A handbook.

Smile, even while on the phone

Another example of "2nd Mile Experience" is smiling at all customers. Of course, that should be a given in customer service, but Chick-Fil-A employees are also expected to smile while on the phone. According to the handbook, "a smile can be sensed."

Hairstyles and facial hair are highly regulated

male chick fil a worker
Chick-fil-a / Facebook

As revealed by employees on Reddit, Chick-fil-A pays a great deal of attention to its employees' hair. Male employees at Chick-fil-A aren't allowed to have hair longer than collar length, and beards are strictly prohibited (ditto soul patches). Mustaches are OK provided that they are "neatly trimmed"—as are sideburns extending no further than the bottom of the ear.

. . . and generally, no fun hairstyles allowed

Chick-fil-A's rules for personal grooming and hairstyle have been compared to those of the U.S. military, and with good reason. Not unlike the army's ban on "faddish haircuts", Chick-fil-A draws a hard line against "hairstyles that distract from one's person." Female employees with hair longer than shoulder length must wear it pulled back, and all employees are prohibited from coloring their hair anything other than "natural colors." There is also a complete sanction against hair carvings.

Leave the jewelry at home

Chick-fil-A invites all employees to kindly leave their jewelry and personal effects at home. Men aren't allowed to wear earrings or facial piercings (including tongue rings and eyebrow rings). The same rules apply to women, "with the exception of small earrings (no dangling styles), watches, and wedding bands," according to the company handbook.

RELATED: 8 Worst Fast-Food Burgers to Stay Away From Right Now.

They cannot share menu hacks on social media


A worker at Chick-Fil-A decided to jump on the trend of fast-food workers sharing menu hacks. She shared a helpful tip for getting a Mango Passion Tea Lemonade for a discount. When the post became a hit she received angry messages from other Chick-Fil-A workers and was eventually called in and terminated.

Workers cannot accept tips.

One Chick-Fil-A worker posted a note presumably from management reminding employees that they could not accept tips or would face "immediate termination." Irate Chick-Fil-A workers sounded off in the comments about the absurdity of the rule. Some said the rules were loosened for locations where not accepting tips was deemed an insult. But, Chick-Fil-A employees can often be fired for breaking unspoken rules.

Employees have to hide their tattoos


The chicken chain doesn't seem to have a policy against hiring people with visible tattoos, but it does require all employees with tattoos to conceal them while at work. "Visible body piercings" are allowed, but must be ringless and studless (with the exception of earrings for women).

Uniforms must be returned cleaned and pressed

Chick-fil-A has a few interesting rules regarding maintenance and ownership of its employee uniforms. Team Members leaving Chick-fil-A are required to return their uniforms "clean and pressed." As a guarantee of compliance with this rule, Chick-fil-A reserves the right to hold the final paycheck hostage. The employees get their uniforms for free but are required to buy them for $30 if they quit within their first six months of employment.

A previous version of this article was published in Jan. 2022. It has been updated with new information.

Owen Duff
Owen Duff is a freelance journalist based in Vermont, home of Ben & Jerry’s. Read more about Owen