This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Chick-fil-A's famous customer service and specialty menu items have earned it the title of one of the best restaurants in the country for eight consecutive years.
The fast-food chicken chain originated in the state of Georgia in 1946 and has since accumulated a cult-like following and thousands of locations across the United States.
But how does the friendly fast-food chain compare to traditional sit-down restaurants? We recruited the help of a professional to find out.
My partner, Alex, is a service industry pro working in a fine-dining hotel restaurant that specializes in Southern-inspired cuisine. His restaurant emphasizes friendly but refined hospitality and serves food inspired by the flavors of the South.
As a couple, we spend a large amount of our quality time eating out at restaurants together. As we both have spent years in the service industry, dining out is a pastime that's important to us, and it is an experience we're passionate about and enjoy.
We decided to put the Chick-fil-A experience to the test to see how it compares to fine dining.
The Chick-fil-A customer service
The dining room of our local Chick-fil-A was exceptionally clean. When we walked in, we noticed there was an employee always on the floor bussing tables and cleaning up after previous patrons.
Alex noted that the interaction we had with the person manning the register was almost "too friendly."
"They're almost too nice," he jokes, "It borders on disingenuous."
I agree that the lack of apathy felt lightly jarring. Even in the middle of the lunch rush, the Chick-fil-A employee had a sparkle in their eye and a peppy tone that you rarely see in the service industry. We agreed that large amounts of caffeine must be at play.
When we went to pay, the employee took note of my husband's Whole Foods credit card and started a small talk about their passion for the grocery store chain. This left us to believe that maybe the employee really was genuinely happy.
Every time you thank a Chick-fil-A employee, they have to reply with "my pleasure" per their company's policy.
"While sometimes you do get a monotonous 'my pleasure,' most of the time I believe them when they say it," Alex concludes.
Their customer service gets his stamp of approval.
The Chick-fil-A food
"The food is good. I think we have proven that it's excellent. It just tastes good. There's no other way to put it," Alex says about the food.
When I compared fast-food chicken sandwiches earlier this year, Chick-fil-A came out on top. Their food is flavorful and savory without being overly greasy or heavy.
Alex notes that consistency is key when it comes to the chain.
"They're never hit or miss. They get it right every time. Everything comes how you order it, and it scratches the itch. The value of what you order is notable. Especially compared to the price of fine dining. I paid $4 for this sandwich," he concludes.
Overall, Chick-fil-A gets Alex's stamp of approval.
"I think Chick-fil-A is the best fast food, especially if you're training for a career in customer service. Even if it falls flat occasionally, the intention is there, and the employees are pleasant. It's a part of their brand. It's the cornerstone of it. I'm never disappointed," he concludes.
So much of Chick-fil-A's brand identity relies on them providing fast, friendly service, and from his point of view, this is reflected in the overall experiences.