Chick-fil-A Beats KFC Again, But Why?

Chick-fil-A bested KFC as the “leader in the US chicken fast-food industry,” though KFC has more stores open more often. (Chick-fil-A is famously closed on Sunday.)

Chick-fil-A reportedly had 1,775 locations and pulled in $5.05 billion in sales last year, according to Technomic. KFC had 4,438 stores that pulled in $4.22 billion in U.S. sales.

As to why they’re closed on Sunday — something often attributed to religion — its “as much practical as spiritual:”

“Our founder, Truett Cathy…believes that all franchised Chick-fil-A operators and their restaurant employees should have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so. That’s why all Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sundays. It’s part of our recipe for success.”

So how is it that Chick-fil-A is so successful?

One primary ingredient is obviously the food, which is largely unique in the industry (though KFC has apparently created a Chick-fil-A knock-off). Another is its famous hospitality — once put on display when a hostile drive through customer’s YouTube rant backfired and got him fired, while the employee remained courteous throughout.

Paul Stanley at the Christian Post says Chick-fil-A is successful because it is blessed by God. Recalling the controversy over statements about homosexuality from Chick-fil-A executive Dan Cathy:

I believe God blesses those who are most faithful to Him…

How did Chick-fil-A operators respond when a handful of homosexual protesters would show up to picket a store? They would offer them free food and drinks. I believe Jesus would have done the same.

Each of those may contribute to the reasons for Chick-fil-A’s success.

A final thought is one that is non-commercial and, quite frankly, non-religious. Americans tend to value and respect those who act with principle. Given Chick-fil-A’s following, the restaurant could probably make a fortune off after-church lunches if it was open on Sunday — but the company has held onto that principle. Similarly, criticisms of Dan Cathy’s statements about homosexuality didn’t result in Cathy or the company reversing its position, firing anyone, or otherwise acquiescing to the criticism — which included Mayors talking of banning Chick-fil-A from their towns. The result was a nationwide Chick-fil-A day instigated by Mike Huckabee that led to a one day sales record for the company.

People respect those who hold onto their principles, even in the face of temptation or public pressure to surrender.

Do the right thing, and have the moral courage to stand when faced with opposition.

That’s something that applies in the fast food industry, the military, and life.