Chick-fil-A is one of the fastest-growing fast-food chains in the United States.
Although the chain is quite popular, its prices are much higher than some of the other fast-food chains that have dominated the market for decades.
What makes the food more expensive?
Is it worth it?
The company has a reputation for premium customer service and taking care of its employees.
Here are 10 reasons to help you understand why you’re paying a bit more for a company that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but only six days a week.
Why Is Chick-fil-A So Expensive?
The moment you pull up the Chick-fil-A app or pull into the drive-thru, you have to prepare for the prices.
Don’t expect to find traditional fast-food prices at this chain.
However, there are plenty of good reasons that they are a bit more expensive than their competition.
1. Fresh Ingredients Cost More
If you’ve ever noticed the quality that goes into certain fast-food chains, you may swear off them entirely.
Fresh, quality ingredients will cost more.
This means that Chick-fil-A finds a delicate balance between providing you with affordable meals that are simply faster than sit-down restaurants.
They have chosen to distinguish themselves from the other fast-food chains by prioritizing the better ingredients.
Also, they have banked on people’s willingness to pay more for those better ingredients.
White meat chicken costs more than dark meat chicken.
Much of this comes down to supply and demand.
More people prefer white meat chicken, so poultry distributors know that they can charge more for it.
Consumer Affairs has also reported that the cost of chicken has been on the rise.
There are a number of reasons for this, but much of it comes down to the poultry market and the demand for the various parts—with breasts and wings being in higher demand than any other part.
It’s not just the chicken that Chick-fil-A concentrates on.
There are various other fresh ingredients that they focus on.
This includes bread, eggs, and even pickles.
In fact, the pickle placed on the original Chick-fil-A sandwich is one of the most talked-about components of the meal.
People love to see that pickle.
Any pickle connoisseur knows that it’s not your average fast-food pickle.
Over the years, the Chick-fil-A menu has evolved to include even more fresh ingredients.
It’s no longer just a standard white bun.
They also offer a gluten-free bun as well as a multi-grain bun.
This added variety comes at a cost to the consumer.
However, when the average Chick-fil-A has a line wrapped around the building at prime lunch and dinner times, one can see that people are still willing to pay more to gain access to fresh ingredients.
2. Labor Is Expensive
Labor is expensive anywhere these days.
Chick-fil-A is a bit different, though.
They are not looking to be cheap when it comes to paying their employees.
Most people assume that working in a fast-food restaurant means that the wages will be low.
That’s not the case with Chick-fil-A.
They pride themselves on their higher-than-normal hourly rates.
For most of the country, it’s not uncommon for a cashier to be hired at a rate of $8 to $11 an hour.
Meanwhile, team leaders may earn between $9 and $15 an hour.
If you’ve ever been to a typical Chick-fil-A, you know that there is a focus on keeping the lines moving efficiently.
In order to do that, it requires more than a few employees.
A drive-thru may have four or five employees outside, helping to keep everyone navigating through the lines.
A typical Chick-fil-A restaurant may have two drive-thru lanes.
Two to four employees will take orders and another two employees will collect payment.
There may be even more employees outside to distribute the orders as they’re prepared.
Of course, there are also the employees on the inside.
This includes cashiers for those who would rather go inside the restaurant.
There are supervisors and managers.
There are cooks.
There are janitorial workers.
With so many positions available just within a single store, it can be quite the task of scheduling.
All of that labor adds up quickly.
It’s not uncommon for there to be a dozen or more employees on the clock at any time.
It’s what ensures that you can get your Chick-fil-A sandwich quickly and while it’s still hot.
Other fast-food chains may have half the number of employees.
Their labor is cheaper, but it also doesn’t lend to the same experience.
It’s why many other chains will have bad reviews.
The food was cold.
The order was wrong.
There wasn’t enough sauce in the bag.
When you compare Chick-fil-A reviews to those of other chains, you understand that labor is one of the ways for the restaurant to stand out.
They pay more and they employ more in order to help their brand stand out.
Therefore, if that means having to charge more for a chicken sandwich, they’ll do it because they know people demand a certain type of experience.
3. Demand Increases The Cost
When there’s greater demand, the costs will increase.
It’s become clear to Chick-fil-A that people will pay higher prices for the quality chicken and the better overall experience.
Some of the chains around the country have been known to have 20+ cars in their lines at all times of the day.
Some chains have been accused of blocking traffic because people are eager to get their chicken sandwiches and their waffle fries.
Clearly, there’s sufficient demand.
That high demand means that the folks at Chick-fil-A can raise the prices without losing business.
It’s what allows them to have more people on the clock to make it through a busy shift.
It’s also what allows them to throw a few extra containers of sauce into your bag without thinking twice about charging you.
4. Chicken Is Getting Pricier
Chick-fil-A is known for one type of protein, and that is chicken.
As such, it should come as no surprise that they are going to focus on only the best chicken around.
The brand is known for serving whole, boneless breasts of chicken.
Since there are no fillers or artificial preservatives anywhere in sight, that kind of chicken is going to cost more.
Chick-fil-A focuses on quality chicken, and they’ll pay more to get it.
This means that they’re going to source from U.S. farms in accordance with their American Wellbeing Standards.
They also have a pledge that they won’t serve any chicken with antibiotics, ever—and they’ve held true to that since the end of 2019.
As there’s more demand for the chicken, the costs go up.
Chick-fil-A must then compensate for the rise in poultry prices by increasing their own menu prices.
5. Those Sauce Packets Add Up
The average fast-food restaurant offers a handful of condiments.
Typically, those are going to be ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard.
Some restaurants will offer a few more such as ranch, barbecue, and even a house sauce.
When they offer the sauces, they will only offer small quantities.
If you want more, you will be charged for them.
One of the ways that Chick-fil-A has been able to stand out over the years is by offering a significant variety of sauces.
It is part of their reputation.
People can order the original Chick-fil-A sauce, honey mustard, buttermilk ranch, Polynesian sauce, and the list goes on and on.
Walking into the restaurant gives you access to all of the sauces.
If you want one of every sauce, you can feel free to do so without feeling as though you will have to pay extra.
If you want four of a certain sauce to drown your nuggets in, you can do so confidently.
Chick-fil-A employees are not going to make you feel bad about wanting extra sauce.
All you have to do is ask for more sauce, and they will be happy to provide it to you.
Sauce costs money.
The more sauce they provide, the more money they lose.
However, they don’t want to ruin their reputation by being “cheap” on the sauce.
They adjust their prices accordingly to accommodate for giving out more sauce to their customers.
When you buy a meal, you may be paying more than the average meal from another fast-food restaurant, but you get all the sauce that you want.
6. Customer Service Is Expensive
Customer service varies from restaurant to restaurant.
Most fast-food chains are not known for providing a high level of customer service.
Part of this is because they don’t pay a lot of money.
Part of this is because they don’t spend a lot of time training their employees.
Chick-fil-A proves that they are different by providing a high level of customer service at every turn.
If you have ever been to the restaurant, you know that you are greeted with a smile.
Some employees will even joke and enjoy a sense of humor.
They seem as though they are genuinely interested in providing you with a great experience.
Chick-fil-A takes the time to train their staff properly.
New employees will spend several days learning the company culture.
Additionally, they will shadow more experienced employees before they are allowed to do their job on their own.
It ensures that expectations are not only understood but that they can be carried out properly.
Many employees will move up throughout the corporation.
Chick-fil-A has the tendency to hire from within.
It ensures that they are promoting people who have already embraced the company culture.
As such, there is a significant emphasis on customer service and training throughout every aspect of the restaurant, the region, and the corporation itself.
Any employee who is hired could end up becoming a store manager, a regional representative, or even a corporate manager.
Knowing this means that the company has to prioritize customer service training, and that costs money.
7. Benefits Are Abundant
Chick-fil-A isn’t just known for its above-average wages.
There are also quite a few benefits for employees.
These will vary based on the type of employee that a person is.
However, it can include health, life, and dental insurance.
It can also include access to scholarships.
Chick-fil-A believes in providing a variety of benefits and perks to its employees as a way to reduce their overall turnover.
They believe that by taking care of their employees, their employees are more likely to stay for the long term.
Happy employees provide better customer service, as well.
This is why they’ll go above and beyond in terms of benefits.
Many managers within the company will even earn profit sharing and have access to a 401(k) plan.
Quite a few other benefits exist, too.
Employees can look forward to paid holidays and paid sick leave.
It ensures that employees get time to relax.
Additionally, employees won’t feel the need to come to work when they are sick since they know that they’ll receive paid sick leave.
Even the part-time hourly employees receive quite a few benefits.
They’ll receive free drinks while on the clock.
They’ll also get free meals while working.
When they’re not working, they can even come in and get discounts on food for friends and family.
These benefits are factored into the overall cost of labor.
A Chick-fil-A budget has to involve making a profit.
Once the cost of the food is factored in, the cost of the labor is factored in.
From there, it allows the company to establish the best pricing for their food.
It’s more than a fast-food restaurant but less than a sit-down restaurant.
Since they offer a premium experience, they’ll charge more, especially if it means that they can confidently offer benefits to their employees.
8. They’re Closed On Sundays
All across the country, Chick-fil-A chooses to close on Sundays.
This goes back to their Christian roots as well as their desire to offer better benefits to their employees.
It has been estimated that this costs the chain close to $1 billion a year because they miss out on the sales that they would otherwise be able to collect on that extra day.
Essentially, there are 52 days in which they’re closed.
Combine that with more than 2,600 Chick-fil-A locations around the world, and that can add up quickly.
While the company has no plans to ever change their policy of closing on Sunday, it is a cost that must be calculated.
Therefore, everyone pays a bit more for their chicken because the chain chooses to close one day of the week.
9. Training Is Extensive
Training is one of the most expensive aspects of the onboarding process.
Employees will have to spend time learning how to do the job.
Instead of offering a basic video or a manual like some fast-food restaurants, Chick-fil-A prefers to provide hands-on training.
Most employees will spend at least a week in training.
Additionally, the company looks at the uniqueness of their employees to customize training and ensure that an employee is a good “fit” for their position.
With the desire to have employees spend more time in training, they spend more in labor, and that means increasing the cost of menu items.
10. Philanthropy Is Prevalent
Chick-fil-A is unapologetically Christian, which is one of the reasons they maintain the policy of being closed on Sundays.
However, as a good Christian company, they believe in the power of tithing.
They give back to the community in a number of different ways.
Local Chick-fil-A operators will give back to their communities in ways that they choose.
This can be such things as honoring troops through military appreciation events or supporting education with PTA spirit nights.
Community grants are also given out.
Operators can choose to nominate local nonprofits to win the “True Inspiration” awards.
Over the years, the company has given out more than $12 million.
The typical grant will range from $50,000 to $350,000.
Additionally, the company helps to fight hunger through their program known as the “Shared Table.”
This allows local operators to reduce food waste and help the hungry.
Surplus food is regularly donated to local soup kitchens and other nonprofits.
Chick-fil-A maintains a significant amount of social responsibility.
However, that all comes at a cost.
While it’s good to give back, it’s possible that this fast-food chain gives back a bit more than its competitors.
As such, anyone who eats here has to realize that they’re going to pay more for philanthropy.
How Can I Save Money At Chick-fil-A?
Saving money at Chick-fil-A is possible.
It all depends on what it is that you want to buy.
If you purchase value meals, you will often save money because the fries and the drink have been bundled together.
It’s a chance to save a few dollars here and there.
You’ll also want to consider downloading the Chick-fil-A app.
By doing so, you can see all of the prices before you head to the restaurant.
It can help you budget your meal so that you don’t overspend.
While on the app, you can sign up for the rewards program.
This free program allows you to accumulate points for every purchase.
There are various levels, allowing you to earn more points per dollar as you go up.
Then, these points can be redeemed for free products such as fries, sandwiches, nuggets, and more.
Periodically, you’ll find coupons for Chick-fil-A, too.
These are commonly found in newspapers as well as coupon books that are sent to your home.
Before you disregard the mail as “junk,” look to see if there are some coupons.
It may end up saving you a few dollars at this fast-food chain.