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7 Bizarre 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.
FACT CHECKED BY Mura Dominko

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 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) Chick-fil-A is famous for its high standards.

The chain is no less scrupulous when it comes to the rules and regulations imposed on its employees. As revealed in a recent 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 semi-legal—here's a look at seven of Chick-fil-A's most bizarre employee rules. For more, check out Hooters Servers Are Complaining About the Chain's Inappropriate New Uniforms.

(Plus, always skip these 8 Worst Fast-Food Burgers to Stay Away From Right Now.)

1

The over-regulation of men's hair

chick-fil-a employee thumbs up
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.

2

. . . and generally, no fun hairstyles allowed

chick-fil-a-employees
Jeff Bukowski/Shutterstock

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.

3

Leave the jewelry at home

chick-fil-a-employees
Chick-fil-A/Facebook

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."

4

Employees have to hide their tattoos

chick-fil-a-employee
Chick-fil-A/Facebook

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).

5

Breaks are only allotted during non-peak business hours

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Jim Lambert/Shutterstock

If you're 18 or older and working at Chick-fil-A, you're entitled to one 30-minute break for any shift longer than five hours, plus a $7 store credit. Don't get too excited, though. All breaks are scheduled during "non-peak business periods"—and come preloaded with a half-dozen "off the clock" employee responsibilities. By the end of your unpaid meal break, you'll need to have: cleaned/tidied your eating area, washed any dishes used, scrubbed your hands, and be waiting at your workstation, ready to resume your shift.

6

Uniforms must be returned cleaned and pressed

chick-fil-a-restaurant
Jarrett Homan/Shutterstock

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.

7

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

chick fil a sign
Billy F Blume Jr/Shutterstock

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. Sneaky or what?

For more, check out the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.

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