In 2016, Chick-Fil-A was the country's highest-ranked fast-food restaurant in the American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report. When comparing numbers, the chain’s average sales per restaurant is three times higher than KFC, its main competitor in the fried chicken market. So, what’s their secret to success?
Aside from selling delicious, top-secret-recipe chicken (more than 3 billion sandwiches since opening), the restaurant is one of the healthiest fast-food options out there, consistently working toward using better ingredients. We rounded up 15 Things You Don’t Know About Chick-Fil-A, little-known facts about the chain that will help you make the most of your local restaurant while feeling better about the food you’re eating. So read on, then stay updated on other chains with our exclusive report: 28 Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches—Ranked!
The Chicken is Fried in Peanut Oil
Ever wondered what gives Chick-Fil-A chicken its unique flavor? Each location uses only peanut oil for frying, making the company the single largest buyer of peanut oil in the U.S. Aside from the special flavor, peanut oil is actually a healthier option too, naturally free of trans fats and full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. There’s one reason you can feel good about chowing down on your next chicken sandwich.
First Customers Get a Year of Free Chicken
People are willing to wait in long lines for different reasons. If you love Chick-Fil-A and free food, make sure to camp out and be one of the first 100 customers at the next restaurant opening. If you really love it, wait in line at multiple openings and never pay for a chicken sandwich again, like Robert Corey, who’s waited in line 110 times at locations around the country.
They Buy the Most Sunkist Lemons
The restaurant's lemonade is so popular that the chain squeezed more than 200 million lemons in 2013 alone. You know the saying: When life gives you more than 200 million lemons, make a lot of lemonade to wash down fried-chicken sandwiches.
The Chick-Fil-A Sauce Recipe Isn't So Mysterious
Do you love the Chick-Fil-A sauce so much that you take extra to keep at home in the fridge? You’re not alone. But you’ll be surprised to find out this special sauce is just three sauces combined into one. Next time you’re craving it, mix some up using honey mustard, barbecue and ranch.
Restaurants Are Closed Every Sunday
Most people know of Chick-Fil-A as being a Christian company, founded by Truett Cathy, who advocated observing the Sabbath. He required all restaurants to be closed on Sundays. Every location still holds to this edict. So if you have a craving for chicken nuggets that day, pick another one of the Best Fast-Food Chicken Nuggets – Ranked!
They Have a Secret Menu
You’ve probably heard about the infamous Starbucks secret drink menu, but did you know that Chick-Fil-A also offers some unknown options? These include different milkshake flavors and even a chicken quesadilla! For a healthy secret item, order The Spicy Char, a grilled version of their Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
The Online Market Sells Everything
If you’re serious about Chick-Fil-A, you can dress yourself, your significant other, your children, and your dog in the large selection of clothing sold on the chain’s website. They also sell some other niche merchandise perfect for fans of the chain, such as clocks, calendars, towels and backpacks.
They Invented the Chicken Sandwich
Perhaps this isn't a shocker because they’re the highest-ranked chicken chain in the nation, but Chick-Fil-A's founder actually invented the chicken sandwich in 1964. He was brought a shipment of chicken breasts that was too large to serve as airline food and came up with a quick way to make it for shift workers.
They Give Out Free Ice Cream
Whether you’re taking the kids out to eat or ordering a kid’s meal for yourself, you can get a free ice cream cone. Simply walk up to the counter and trade in your toy. If the toy is too good to pass up, splurge $1.25 for the cone.
They’re Going Healthier
In 2008, Chick-Fil-A removed trans fats from their menu. They’ve also been diminishing their use of corn syrup, artificial dyes, antibiotics and some preservatives, but are actually keeping the progression quiet in fear that customers will notice a change in taste. See how Chick-Fil-A stacked up to their peers in our exclusive report: The Most Popular Chain Restaurants—Ranked!
You Get a Free Sandwich on Cow Appreciation Day
You might have seen people walking around in cow costumes at the mall and wondered what kind of strange convention was in town. Most likely, it was just Cow Appreciation Day. Every year in mid-July, the chain chooses a day and declares it a holiday, giving out free food to those partaking with a costume. Although a full-on cow onesie shows you’re really invested, a T-shirt illustrated with udders works as well.
The Chicken Sandwich Recipe is Locked Up
Similar to the Krabby Patty recipe at the Krusty Krab, the recipe for the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich is locked in a safe in the company’s Atlanta headquarters. This means the endless copycat recipes online may not be so accurate, but also that the recipe hasn’t changed in 50 years!
The Name Has Meaning
Have you wondered where the restaurant’s name came from? It turns out, when founder Cathy was coming up with a name, he compared the chicken breasts used to the best cut of beef – a beef fillet. The “A” was capitalized to signify that the restaurant serves the best quality of food, and Chick-Fil-A was born!
Servers Aren’t Actually Required to Say "My Pleasure"
Ever notice how instead of saying "You’re welcome" after you say "Thank you," Chick-fil-A servers respond with a pleasant "My pleasure”? According to a Chick-Fil-a employee and Reddit user "noexqses," the fast food workers’ excessive politeness isn’t actually required. "Saying 'my pleasure' is not mentioned in the official training at all. It's a learned behavior," the employee spilled.
They Host A Daddy Daughter Date Night
If you’ve heard of a Daddy-Daughter Dance at school, this is the same thing, but with chicken nuggets. Locations around the country have a special night once a year just for fathers and their daughters. Restaurants go all out, offering different special touches, like a red carpet or live music.