Many companies in the service industry struggle to provide their customers with reliable good service experiences. This is because many factors contribute to each customer's perception of what exactly a good service experience is. Some of these factors include the store's dÃÂ©cor, smell, cleanliness, location, employees' appearance and their demeanor. Management does not always consider these aspects of the service encounter as important factors in customer satisfaction. In the fast food industry, speed is the top priority, which produces high sales, but leads to inconsistent, impersonal, and careless interaction with customers. Because of this it is difficult to find a fast food restaurant that can consistently provide "good" service, and nearly impossible to find one that can prove its excellent service. However, this paper will describe how a unique fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, has earned much recognition and financial success by proving good service is equally as important as a good product.
Chick-fil-A is credited with introducing the original chicken breast sandwich and pioneering in-mall fast food. Founder and Chairman S. Truett Cathy opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta's Greenbriar Mall in 1967. His restaurants became increasingly popular, and today there are nearly 400 restaurants in shopping malls across America. During this time of growth, additional customer demand for convenience and accessibility caused Cathy to open several free-standing restaurants and soon expanded to college campuses, hospitals, drive-throughs, and he licensed multiple other outlets. Since the start in 1967, the company has posted 37 consecutive annual sales increases and has grown to reach $1.74 billion is sales in 2004. (Chick-Fil-A Company Website) Their growth is phenomenal, and unusual for a fast food chain that purposefully does not alter their menu choices, offer discounts or limited-time offers. There must be another factor that is special about Chick-fil-A...