A survey of fast food preferences by the American Customer Service Index has just named Chick-fil-A as the nation’s favorite fast food restaurant for the fourth year in a row. The 23,000 consumers polled ranked the chain’s accuracy, food quality, menu variety, cleanliness, staff behavior, and website satisfaction higher than those of the 17 other chains included.
Chick-fil-A also produces more revenue than any other fast food operation, with average sales per unit reaching almost $4.5 million in 2016, compared to units of McDonald’s, which averaged just over $2.5 million.
And of course its chicken-centric menu — and famous waffle fries — are a big draw. (The chain’s grilled chicken nuggets got the nod in our recent listing of the healthiest option at every fast food restaurant.)
Sound like the kind of company you’d like to get involved with? Chick-fil-A will let you get in the game for only $10,000 ($15,000 Canadian dollars if you’re north of the border). Of course, that’s just for the rights to operate a franchise unit of the chain — but Chick-fil-A will pay all the start-up costs after that, including real estate, construction, and equipment.
The downside? First of all, applicants have to qualify for the right to become a franchisee. More than 20,000 would-be chicken-slingers apply every year and only 75 or 80 make the cut. Don’t bother applying if you have any other business venture or expect Chick-fil-A to build your place at a specific location, and be prepared to work hands-on on a full-time basis (with Sundays off — all units close that day).
For many potential franchisees, however, there’s a bigger problem: The chain has been repeatedly censured by LGBTQ groups for the opposition of its CEO to gay marriage and for donating repeatedly to anti-gay groups through the Chick-fil-A Foundation. The controversy doesn’t seem to have been bad for business, however, and Chick-fil-A has been ranked as one of the most popular stores for millenials.