Answering the Mysteries of Chick-fil-A

Answering The Mysteries of Chick-fil-A!

In Blog by Arthur Greeno1 Comment

There is a right way to hire and I truly believe in setting up processes that will work for you and your business. Too often we want the fast food way to hire….quick…. When it comes to personnel, if you want quality, there is no real quick way to do it.  If you can follow these four hiring procedures it may just prevent headaches later.

  • Recruit

Many businesses just take whatever walks in the door.  Does it work?  Look at the businesses around you and tell me. When you talk to a Chick-fil-A franchisee you will probably find that they recruit from multiple sources.  Quite often, we are not looking to hire 10 people, we may need 2 day, and 1 night person, or 3 day and 2 night staff member, it varies dependent on our needs at the time.  The successful operators will throw their net wide and look at multiple sources.  Here is what it would look like for me:  If I need to hire today, I look into several types of venues.

  1. Put the word out to our team and have them make connections at school. Also, high School counselors, coaches, youth pastors, trade schools and Community Colleges.
  2. Social Media and websites: (or whatever is the hot online source today), colleges, tech schools… your list could go on and on.  This does not happen by accident. It takes disciplined planning.
  • Be picky – know what you want 

 What kind of person do you want to work for you? Having this type of description already spelled out can help you and your team narrow down what you’re getting.  Being in the food industry, we have certain stipulations that other businesses may not have.

  1.  We cannot hire anyone with facial hair (or unwilling to shave facial share.) If we are interviewing them and they facial hair, we will ask them if they are willing to shave.  If they say no, then we know the conversation is over.
  2. If they have facial piercings, we cannot hire them, though they may have a heart of gold, that is our standard. If they are not willing to remove them, they will not be a good fit.  Be as specific as you can.  Your team, and even you will have a better time placing someone in your organization if you know exactly what you want.
  • CALL references 

Ah, the lost art of calling references.  What I often hear is why should I call, they wont give me any information?  This may be true.  Some businesses will only give you the date they worked.  Take it; verify that is when they worked.  You would be surprised how many people make things up on an application.  There are also some that will answer things in a way that is helpful.  For example:

  1.  I called about an employee once and said, “I am calling regarding  a reference on Arthur Greeno, (of course the names were changed to protect the innocent) the manager on the other line said “OHHHHH Arthur!!! Well, I can only give you his dates of employment” Versus…”Arthur?”  “Well, I can only give you his dates of employment due to our corporate policy, but off the record, he was awesome….off the record.”
  2. Call their personal references.  (This is not a Chick-fil-A specific but an Arthur Greeno tip.)  Most people put down personal references that were never trained at the art of taking a call from a reference. Once I was calling a manager reference, when I told them who I was, they said, “well that’s surprising, they HATE customer service!”  Or this one, I asked how do you think he will do in our environment, “Anything that keeps him from drinking, he is a sloppy drunk.” Needless to say, we did not hire either one of those applicants.
  • Move fast so you can move slow

 I have seen many times where someone will fill out an application and not hear back for weeks.  I give our team 48 hours from the time someone turns in an application to either set up an interview, or move it to the “no” file. If its a great applicant, they wont be applying for very long, I promise you that.  Someone will snatch them up.  There is a giant need for great people.  Sometimes I get applicants that fill out their name, address, phone, and on previous jobs leave the majority blank, or only put one reference.  This shows me if they are not going to put forth effort on their application, why would they put forth effort at their job.  Move quickly to get the process engaged then be picky, check their references and do your due diligence, before you hire them.

  • Make them feel special when they start

Looking back, there was a young man who was looking for a job, as most teenagers are he’s very caught up in his self-esteem and trying to figure out what’s going on in his life. Things may be rough for him at home and because of this he’s become self-dependent. He’s finally at the age to go work, and he chooses Chick-fil-A. He does the interview, and is very excited that he was chosen and now has his first job.   He’s not a great student, nor is he a great athlete, so the amount of wins that he has in his life can be chalked up to less than what you count on one hand.  Here is where it went wrong:

  1.  He was told to come in on Thursday to turn in his paperwork  He arrived very excited and energetic, and then he notices that the manager is overwhelmed with multiple other applicants.  The manager takes his paperwork from him that took quite a while to read through and sign and asked him to come back on Monday so that they can get him started.
  2. When the young man comes back, no one is expecting him and multiple people ask him why he’s there, he responded with the managers name and that he was supposed to meet him there “around: 3:45-ish. We asked if he was supposed to start working today his response was  “I’m not sure, I wasn’t given it real clear instructions.” Well, Unfortunately today is not a day for us to start this employee, and no one knows where his paperwork is because it had not been communicated by the previous manager. So we asked that young man to go back home so we can schedule him at the appropriate time and give him the attention he deserves.

How would you feel if this was you?

This is an illustration I use with my team.  When someone starts, we want to have everything ready for them when they start.  Statistics show most employees quit because they feel like they are not a part of something.  We try to make sure they are a part of something.  At our stores, we give them a new employee COW box the day they start.  In the box is a small cow, nice handled cup for them to use when they need drinks, and their name tag. This is all wrapped up in a cow spotted catering box, about the size of a shoe box.  Give the new employee a reason to want to come back the next day.

So again, when it comes to personnel, if you want quality, there is no real quick way to do it.  Follow these tips and you will be able to hire great people and keep them.




  1. Arthur,

    All great advice that our office is slowly getting better at. Interesting what you say regarding personal references as it makes sense, but stands contrary to what I’ve heard from others about personal references. Namely, personal references will just give you the fluff about the candidate and only say good things. I find that it seems increasingly challenging these days to get a real quality reference and sometimes requires several calls to get one that is truly useful.


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