Skip to content

8 Strict Rules That Have Gotten Chick-fil-A Workers Fired

It goes way beyond those Sunday closures.
FACT CHECKED BY Meaghan Cameron

One way Chick-fil-A has become such a powerhouse in the American fast-food scene is by offering food that many people rate as top quality and prefer over that of other chains. Another way is being highly selective when it comes to approving franchise owners, thus fostering a business model where, from the top down—from owners to managers to employees working the fryers, counters, and drive-thru window—each unit tends to be a well-oiled machine.

As a whole, Chick-fil-A is heavily focused on consistency and a simple presentation in every location. And because the chain takes pride in its customer experience, the company's mission is to make sure the employees working day in and day out reflect that good business. That begins with appearances and ends with the high standards of workflow and one's attitude when interacting with customers.

How Chick-fil-A manages to run such a tight ship is by compelling employees to follow quite a few rules, many of which are both strict and strictly enforced. If you want to stay on the payroll at America's #1 fast-food chicken chain, then you'd better follow the rules. That especially goes for the ones listed below or you may risk getting fired.

McDonald's New AI Drive-Thru Is Making Hilarious Mistakes, Customers Report

Sharing ways to save money or hack the menu

mango passion tea lemonade chick fil a
Chick-fil-A / Facebook

A former worker at Chick-fil-A, swayed by the menu-hack videos making waves on TikTok, created her own short video outlining how to save on the chain's Mango Passion Tea Lemonade. When the post started to catch fire on social media, she found herself getting flooded with angry messages from Chick-fil-A workers and managers. Soon enough word made its way to her managers and she was terminated.

Everyone must answer "my pleasure"

chick fil a my pleasure sign
u/TerraBiTT_Ex / Reddit

Saying thanks to a Chick-fil-A worker will never get you the standard reply of "you're welcome." Nor are you ever going to hear a casual "no prob!" or "any time!" No, Chick-fil-A workers are required to respond to a "thank you" with the words "my pleasure." This response has been a company policy since the restaurant's founder, Truett Cathy, asked managers and their staff to start using the phrase after he found himself taken with it when employees at a Ritz-Carlton said "my pleasure" to him.

Accepting any tips whatsoever

Tip jar

Accepting a tip from a satisfied customer can quickly lead to one very unsatisfied Chick-fil-A worker. Or rather make that a former Chick-fil-A worker, because, according to a post shared on Reddit, accepting tips is seen as grounds for summary termination by management at the restaurant chain.

Taking advantage of the one employee free meal per shift


Most jobs in fast food pay minimum wage so it can be extremely beneficial for employees to be gifted a meal or snack on the company dime during their lunch break. Emphasis on "gifted"—one ex-CFA employee claimed to be fired for trying to (and sometimes succeeding) order more than one free meal a day during working hours.

"The main problem is I would snag some fries and occasionally some nuggets if I was feeling risky," the Redditor explains, "my manager sat me down today and just said he had to let me go." Commenters were torn on the egregiousness of the offense with one saying, "Aw I'm sorry:( you deserved to snag some fries and nugs, that's not a big deal." However, another was more of a realist stating, "So.. you're stealing? Most places gonna have a problem with that 😂"

Visible tattoos

woman with arm of tattoos

At Chick-fil-A, there are no exceptions for showing off your body art while you're in uniform. There are options if you already have tattoos and are looking to work at CFA, such as wearing arm sleeves or other clothing garments that respectfully cover the ink designs, but it depends on the manager of each location, one ex-employee wrote on Indeed.

Pretending to mess with food

chick fil a employee
Chick-fil-a / Facebook

In news that made nationwide headlines in recent days, a pair of Chick-fil-A employees were promptly fired after a video went viral that appeared to show them spitting in chicken batter, per Business Insider. It's not clear if anyone actually did expectorate into foodstuffs or if it was just a prank, but the terminations were swift and won't be overturned.

Refusing required Polygraph tests

Chick-fil-A cup, bag, and box
jmac23 / Shutterstock

According to one Chick-fil-A Employee Handbook, the employees may be required to undergo a lie detector test now and then, especially if they are suspected of any theft or embezzlement. If they refuse the testing, they may end up fired.

Working with an unnatural hair color

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

If your hair is brown, black, blonde, red, gray, or white, no problem, you can get and keep a job at Chick-fil-A. But dye that hair any unnatural color and you're out, per Mashed. And that even goes for streaks or highlights; no hair colors that can't be naturally produced by the human body are allowed on a Chick-fil-A worker's head.

A previous version of this article was originally published in Oct. 2022. We have updated it with new information.

Jordan Summers-Marcouillier
Jordan Summers-Marcouillier was born and raised in San Jose, California and now works as a writer in New York, NY. Read more about Jordan