Fast food: it’s a topic that, these days, is a fairly polarizing one. Some people don’t mind the extra fat, but it seems as though many others would rather down a green smoothie than touch a burger! That being said, we are always hard-pressed to find folks who don’t love them some crispy, juicy, and oh-so-wholesome Chick-fil-A.
Yep, the chicken sandwich chain is pretty much in a league of its own when it comes to flavor, convenience, and even customer service, but there are actually quite a few other unusual factors that make this fast food joint so intriguing. Here are 7 of the most surprising ones…
It’s held tight to its founding Christian values
If you’ve ever had an insatiable craving for a chicken sandwich on a Sunday, then you know how disappointing it can be to arrive at your local Chick-fil-A only to be met with that classic “Closed on Sundays” sign. Talk about a buzzkill!
It’s a practice that the company has upheld ever since the restaurant’s founder, S. Truett Cathy, opened his first location in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia. According to the company’s website, Cathy, who was a life-long employee in the hospitality business, was sick of working in restaurants that were open 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Even though the founder knew that his decision to close on Sundays could mean that he was leaving money on the table, he stuck to his guns—to him, Sundays were meant for worship and family time. These days, Chick-fil-A has no plans on ever changing its policy.
The company has a bovine mascot
Cows may seem like an unlikely mascot for a chicken joint, but it’s one that has certainly become synonymous with Chick-fil-A. The idea originated back in 1995 when the company bought a Texas billboard and added a couple of cartoon cows onto it. One of the cows was standing on its pal’s back while he scrawled out the now-famous motto: “EAT MOR CHIKIN”.
Unsurprisingly, the mooving (get it?!) ad campaign has done Chick-fil-A well. In fact, the restaurant honors it with annual Cow Appreciation Days— a day when any customer dressed as a cow gets a free entree!
It has a secret menu
Did you know that most fast food restaurants have secret menus? Starbucks has one. Our West Coast peeps surely are familiar with In-N-Out’s. Even the old standby, McDonald’s, has one!
So, it didn’t completely blow our minds when we learned that Chick-fil-A allows you to order off of the menu, too; that said, the items on the unposted list did surprise us. Currently, the chain offers a chicken quesadilla, a spicy char (spicy charbroiled chicken breast sandwich), a buffalo chicken sandwich, a blueberry cheesecake milkshake, a fried chicken club, and even a classic root beer float!
Its founder invented the chicken sandwich
Believe it or not, before 1964, no other fast food joint–or any other restaurant for that matter–had a chicken sandwich on their menus. We know… crazy, right?!
The creation of the delectable dish came about when Chick-fil-A’s founder was working as the manager of The Dwarf Grill back in the early 1960s. At the time, a poultry supplier approached him with an offer for a banging deal on chicken breasts. Cathy took those filets and cooked them using his mother’s pressure cooker method and, by a stroke of genius, sandwiched the crispy filets in the middle of buttered buns. Of course, his creation wasn’t quite complete until he figured out the last— and perhaps most important ingredient— the pickles!
There’s a reason why Chick-fil-A employees say “my pleasure”
Have you ever wondered why all Chick-fil-A employees reply with “my pleasure” instead of a standard “you’re welcome?” As it turns out, there’s a very important reason why they utter this phrase, and it has everything to do with— surprise, surprise— Truett Cathy.
The story goes that the company’s founder was staying at the swanky Ritz Carlton when a hotel worker responded to Cathy’s “thanks” with a “my pleasure.” For some reason, the short phrase had a massive impact on the businessman, so much so that he required each and every one of his retail employees from then on to use it when speaking with customers. Now, we all can’t hear those two words without getting hungry for a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich!
The company is the largest U.S. buyer of peanut oil
Random, right? Well, maybe not so strange once you consider the fast food chain’s cooking process. You see, each and every piece of its breaded chicken is fried in peanut oil. According to Chick-fil-A’s website, it has been done this way since the beginning, back when Truett Cathy first realized that peanut oil was the key to achieving the crispiest skin on his special, pressure cooked chicken breasts.
As a bonus, peanut oil is much better for the bod than the traditional vegetable variety. The company’s dietician, Jodie Worrell, likens peanut oil to olive oil in terms of health benefits—it’s free of trans fats, cholesterol, and low in saturated fats, too. Talk about a win-win!
The restaurant’s signature sauce isn’t all that signature
Chick-fil-A Sauce may have a certain “je ne sais quoi” quality to it that makes it hard to identify by taste alone, but as it turns out, it’s actually quite a simple recipe. A tweet by the company confirms that it only uses three common ingredients in its legendary condiment: 1) honey mustard, 2) barbecue sauce, and 3) ranch. Now we can stop taking extras from the restaurant and actually make some at home!
Don’t even try to pretend you’re not craving some Chick-fil-A right now! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this list. Are you a fan of the fast food chain? What is your favorite item on the menu? Which restaurant makes the best chicken?