10 Things You Didn’t Know About Chick-fil-A from 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Chick-fil-A Gallery

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Photo Modified: Flickr/Mark Turnauckas/CC 4.0

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Chick-fil-A

In certain parts of the country, fried chicken sandwiches are synonymous with Chick-fil-A. In recent years, the sandwich that put it on the map has been joined by wraps, salads, and breakfast items, but that no-frills fried chicken sandwich with dill pickle chips has become a hallmark of American casual cuisine. Whether you’re a loyal devotee or are boycotting the chain over its stance on gay marriage, we bet that there are some things you didn’t know about this legendary institution. 


It Traces its Origins to a Restaurant Called Dwarf Grill

That’s the name of the restaurant that S. Truett Cathy opened in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia. The name was later changed to Dwarf House. 

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Hector Alejandro/ CC4.0

It Owes its Early Success to Ford

Dwarf Grill was located very close to the Ford Motor Company’s since-demolished Atlanta assembly plant, and many of the restaurant’s early customers worked at the factory. This built-in clientele helped keep the restaurant afloat. 


It Didn’t Offer its Signature Chicken Sandwich Until 15 Years After Opening

It wasn’t until 1961, after 15 years of running Dwarf House, that Cathy happened upon the pressure fryer that would allow him to branch off and start Chick-fil-A, and it wasn’t until 1967, six years after that, that the first Chick-fil-A opened. Nobody ever said recipe and concept development were easy!

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Clinton Steeds/ CC4.0

It Spent its First 19 Years in Food Courts

The first Chick-fil-As were only opened in suburban mall food courts. It wasn’t until 1986, 19 years after the first location opened, that the first stand-alone location opened its doors. 

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Jimmy Snell/ CC4.0

There Are More than 30 Drive-Through-Only Locations

Today, the chain has embraced just about every level of service, and there are even some that are drive-through only. 

Photo Modified: Flickr/Mark Turnauckas/CC 4.0

It Has a Unique Franchise Model

Chick-fil-A scouts restaurant locations, builds them, then sells franchise rights to operators for only a $5,000 initial investment. This is quite different from the fast food standard; most franchise owners need to fork over nearly $2 million to open a location. For the 67 to 70 new locations that open yearly, nearly 25,000 potential franchisees submit applications. 

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Michael Gras/ CC4.0

It’s the Industry Leader in Average Sales per Restaurant

In 2010, the chain became the industry leader in average sales per restaurant, with $2.7 million coming in on average, overtaking McDonald’s $2.4 million. 

Photo Modified: Flickr/ m01229/ CC4.0

The Chicken in the Logo Is Named Doodles

Before the “Eat mor chikin” cows, who debuted in 1995, the chicken that’s still featured in the chain’s logo was the mascot of Chick-fil-A. Its name is Doodles. 


They’ve Donated Millions to Anti-Gay Groups

The Cathy family are Southern Baptists, and their overt religiousness has impacted the company in several ways: all locations are closed on Sundays, for example. But in 2011 a far more polarizing fact came to light: The company, through its charitable WinShape Foundation, had donated more than $5 million to groups in opposition to same-sex marriage, including the Family Research Council (which was condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group) and the Marriage & Family Foundation. Then-COO (and current CEO) Dan Cathy, Truett’s son, angered millions more by saying that those who “have the audacity to define what marriage is about" were "inviting God's judgment on our nation." Realizing that such hateful comments made for bad PR in certain parts of the country, the company eventually quieted down, releasing a statement saying, "We are a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality; our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."

Wikimedia Commons/ Gage Skidmore

Mike Huckabee Was Responsible for Record-Breaking Sales

Mike Huckabee, who agrees with Cathy’s anti-gay views, came out in support of his statements and even organized a Chick-fil-A appreciation day to counter the boycott that was picking up steam. On August 1, 2012, hundreds of thousands of fellow anti-gay diners showed their support by visiting their local Chick-fil-As, which resulted in record-breaking profits for the day, with 30 percent more sales than usual. You can find more secrets your favorite fast-food chains probably don't want you to know here. 

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Chick-fil-A Gallery