The Surprising Reason Chick-fil-A Employees Always Say “My Pleasure”

From The Blog

When you thank a Chick-fil-A employee for their service, you might be surprised to hear them respond with a cheerful “my pleasure” instead of the more common “you’re welcome.” This simple phrase has become a hallmark of the fast-food chain’s exceptional customer service, but have you ever wondered why they use it? The story behind “my pleasure” is a testament to Chick-fil-A’s commitment to going above and beyond for their customers, and it all started with the company’s founder, Truett Cathy.

1. The Origin of “My Pleasure”

Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, was known for his dedication to providing excellent customer service. He believed that even small gestures could make a big impact on a customer’s experience. During a visit to a luxury hotel, Cathy noticed that when he thanked an employee, they responded with a sincere “my pleasure.” This simple phrase left a lasting impression on him, and he decided to bring it back to his own restaurants.

Cathy believed that using “my pleasure” would surprise and delight customers, setting Chick-fil-A apart from other fast-food chains known for their lackluster customer service. He introduced the phrase at a franchise owner seminar in 2001, encouraging employees to use it whenever a customer expressed gratitude.

Initially, some employees were hesitant to adopt the new phrase, finding it a bit awkward or unnatural. However, when Cathy’s son Dan became CEO in 2003, he led by example and started using “my pleasure” himself. This helped to establish the phrase as an unwritten rule across the company, and it quickly became an integral part of Chick-fil-A’s customer service strategy.

2. More Than Just a Phrase

While “my pleasure” is the most well-known aspect of Chick-fil-A’s customer service, it’s just one part of a larger strategy. The company overhauled its entire approach to customer interactions, training employees to greet customers with a smile, make eye contact, and speak with enthusiasm. This comprehensive approach to service has helped Chick-fil-A consistently rank among the top fast-food chains in customer satisfaction surveys.

For Chick-fil-A employees, “my pleasure” has become second nature. Some even find themselves using the phrase outside of work, a testament to how deeply ingrained it has become in the company’s culture. The phrase is now a central part of Chick-fil-A’s brand identity, appearing on merchandise and sparking fan lore.

Despite the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A’s stance on same-sex marriage, the company’s consistent use of “my pleasure” and commitment to exceptional service have contributed to its positive reputation among customers. The phrase has become a symbol of the brand’s dedication to creating memorable experiences, one interaction at a time.

3. The Psychology Behind “My Pleasure”

So why does hearing “my pleasure” feel so special? According to psychologists, using the word “pleasure” in a customer interaction is an effective way to make customers feel valued and appreciated. It suggests that the employee genuinely enjoys serving the customer, going beyond a mere obligation or job requirement.

In contrast, phrases like “you’re welcome” or “no problem” can come across as indifferent or even dismissive. By using “my pleasure,” Chick-fil-A employees convey a sense of warmth and sincerity that leaves a lasting impression on customers.

This small but significant gesture is part of a larger psychological strategy known as “surprise and delight.” By exceeding customers’ expectations and providing unexpected moments of joy, companies can foster a strong emotional connection with their brand. Chick-fil-A’s use of “my pleasure” is a perfect example of this principle in action.

4. A Culture of Service

The use of “my pleasure” at Chick-fil-A is more than just a clever customer service tactic; it’s a reflection of the company’s deeply rooted culture of service. From a young age, Truett Cathy understood the power of going above and beyond for others. He embodied this principle in his own life, whether he was selling Coca-Cola door-to-door or delivering newspapers.

When Cathy and his brother Ben opened their first restaurant, the Dwarf Grill (now known as The Dwarf House), they made it their mission to put people first and develop meaningful relationships with their customers. This commitment to service was evident in every aspect of the restaurant, from the quality of the food to the friendliness of the staff.

As Chick-fil-A grew, Cathy made sure that this culture of service remained at the heart of the company. He believed that every interaction, no matter how small, was an opportunity to make someone’s day a little brighter. The adoption of “my pleasure” was a natural extension of this philosophy, a way to make customers feel truly valued and appreciated.

5. The Ripple Effect

The impact of Chick-fil-A’s “my pleasure” goes far beyond the individual customer interaction. By consistently providing exceptional service, the company has built a loyal fan base that eagerly promotes the brand to others. Customers often share their positive experiences on social media, spreading the word about Chick-fil-A’s remarkable service and creating a viral marketing effect.

This ripple effect extends to Chick-fil-A’s employees as well. By working in an environment that prioritizes kindness and respect, team members are more likely to feel valued and motivated in their roles. This, in turn, leads to lower turnover rates and a more stable, experienced workforce, further enhancing the quality of service.

Moreover, the use of “my pleasure” has inspired other businesses to rethink their own customer service strategies. Many companies have taken note of Chick-fil-A’s success and have begun to implement similar practices in their own organizations. By setting a new standard for service in the fast-food industry, Chick-fil-A has sparked a larger conversation about the importance of customer experience and the power of small gestures.

6. Beyond the Drive-Thru

While “my pleasure” is most often associated with Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru and counter service, the company’s commitment to exceptional service extends to every aspect of the customer experience. From the cleanliness of the dining room to the accuracy of orders, Chick-fil-A goes above and beyond to ensure that customers leave satisfied.

This attention to detail is evident in the company’s innovative approach to service. For example, Chick-fil-A has implemented a system where employees take orders using tablets while customers are still in line, streamlining the ordering process and reducing wait times. The company also offers a mobile app that allows customers to order and pay ahead, making it even easier to grab a quick meal on the go.

7. A Lasting Legacy

Truett Cathy’s legacy of service and kindness lives on through Chick-fil-A’s continued use of “my pleasure.” What started as a simple phrase adopted from a luxury hotel has become a powerful symbol of the company’s commitment to going above and beyond for its customers. It’s a reminder that small gestures can have a big impact and that every interaction is an opportunity to make someone’s day a little brighter.

As Chick-fil-A continues to grow and expand, it’s clear that “my pleasure” will remain a central part of the company’s identity. By staying true to Truett Cathy’s vision and prioritizing exceptional service, Chick-fil-A has built a loyal fan base and established itself as a leader in the fast-food industry. And who knows? Perhaps one day, “my pleasure” will become the new standard for customer service across all industries, reminding us all of the power of a simple act of kindness.

So, the next time you find yourself at a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, listen closely for that cheerful “my pleasure.” It’s more than just a polite response; it’s a reflection of a company that truly cares about its customers and is committed to making every visit a memorable one. And if you’re feeling extra playful, try beating the employee to the punch by saying “my pleasure” first just don’t expect a free sandwich in return!

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

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