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20 Interesting Facts You Should Know About Chick-fil-A The first-ever Chick-fil-A opened in 1967 in Atlanta's Greenbriar Mall. A chicken sandwich sold for 59 cents and the restaurant was only 384 square feet — roughly the size of a two-car garage.

Key Takeaways

  • Chick-fil-A traces its origins to the Dwarf House, founded by S. Truett Cathy in 1946.
  • The brand's franchise model is unique. It has low startup costs but imposes strict ownership rules, allowing franchisees to operate only one location.
  • Chick-fil-A is renowned for its closed-on-Sunday policy, rooted in the founder's values.

Chick-fil-A | Facebook

Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A's history dates back to the 1940s, when its founder, S. Truett Cathy, opened the Dwarf House in Hapeville, Ga.

It wasn't long before that Chick-fil-A skyrocketed in popularity. Today, the company generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain and is third in total earnings behind McDonald's and Starbucks. It's a growing phenomenon, and there's much to learn from the chicken chain's success. For more, here are 20 interesting facts about Chick-fil-A.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

1. Before Chick-fil-A, there was the Dwarf House.

Chick-fil-A didn't get its catchy name right off the bat. Before Chick-fil-A, there was the Dwarf House, which founder S. Truett Cathy opened in 1946 in Hapeville, Ga. Ironically, the Dwarf House's menu focused on hamburgers and steaks. There are still 5 Dwarf House restaurants in Georgia.

2. It was officially founded in 1967.

After much success with the Dwarf House, Cathy opened the first-ever Chick-fil-A in 1967 in Atlanta' Greenbriar Mall, one of the Southeastern U.S.'s first indoor malls. According to Chick-fil-A, a chicken sandwich sold for 59 cents and "Team Members wore ascots, candy-striped aprons and "soda jerk" hats and ties. The restaurant was only 384 square feet (roughly the size of a two-car garage) and was a pioneer in the modern-day food court."

The location finally closed after 56 years in 2023.

Related: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in a Chick-fil-A Franchise

3. Chick-fil-A's founder popularized the chicken sandwich.

After the hamburger came the chicken sandwich, and Cathy is a big reason for its widespread popularity today. In 1964, while at the Dwarf House, Cathy was approached by a local poultry supplier who'd produced too many chicken breasts. Taking the extra supply, Cathy came up with a fast-food cooking method to offer his lunch patrons the new option.

4. The "A" in "Chick-fil-A" has a meaning.

The "A" at the end of "Chick-fil-A" isn't just a play on the word "fillet." It also means Grade A.

Related: Chick-fil-A Makes More Per Restaurant Than McDonald's, Starbucks and Subway Combined…and It's Closed on Sundays

5. All Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sunday.

According to the Chick-fil-A website, after Cathy's experience working in restaurants that were open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he understood the importance of time off. That's why you'll never see a Chick-fil-A restaurant open on Sundays. As the website explains, Cathy set aside one day of the week for himself and his employees "to rest and worship if they choose."

6. New Chick-fil-A restaurants honor 100 people with free Chick-fil-A for a year.

Dubbed the "First 100," Chick-fil-A celebrates new openings by selecting 100 Community Heroes who make an impact locally to receive free Chick-fil-A entrees for a year.

Related: The NLRB's New Joint Employer Rule is So Extreme That Even California Rejected a State-Level Version of the Franchise-Killing Policy

7. Only three states don't have a Chick-fil-A restaurant.

Chick-fil-A has expanded to nearly every state in the U.S. It has locations in 47 states and Washington, D.C. The only states where Chick-fil-A has yet to establish itself are Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont.

8. It has one Hawaiian-themed restaurant.

For a tropical twist, one of Chick-fil-A's largest restaurants is Hawaiian-inspired. It is called Truett's Luau and is located in Fayetteville, Ga. The 8,000-square-foot dine-in restaurant offers an array of seafood, pork and chicken options.

Related: Find Out Which Brands Have Ranked on the Franchise 500 for Longest, Earning a Spot In our New 'Hall of Fame'

9. Opening a Chick-fil-A franchise is cheap. But...

If you're interested in becoming a fast-food franchisee, but worried about what it might cost you, check out Chick-fil-A. There are few financial prerequisites needed to apply for a Chick-fil-A franchise, and opening a restaurant only costs $10,000. Not only that, but Chick-fil-A pays for all startup costs including real estate, construction and restaurant equipment.

However, thre are key departures from the traditional franchise model that those interested in Chick-fil-A should know:

Chick-fil-A franchisees do not have the opportunity to sell their business or its assets. There's no exit strategy, which is a significant drawback for those seeking long-term investment. Additionally...

10. Franchisees can only one operate one location.

One reason why it's so cheap to start a Chick-fil-A restaurant s that the private restaurant chain is very specific about who can run one of the sandwich shops. Chick-fil-A franchisees can only own one location. While this aligns with the brand's focused philosophy, it won't align with anyone looking to scale a multiple-location franchise empire.

Related: Learn the Secrets of Running 20+ Businesses as a Side Hustle — Finding and Nurturing Your 'STIC People'

11. It's extremely competitive to become a Chick-fil-A franchisee.

In addition to the above restrictions, there is feirce competition to become a Chick-fil-A franchisee. With more than 50,000 applicants annually and only a handful of new locations opening, the odds of being selected are less than 1%.

12. Chick-fil-A employees are trained to be polite.

"Please" and "my pleasure" are common words you'll hear around Chick-fil-A restaurants, and the idea came from the Ritz-Carlton.

Related: Chick-fil-A Is Celebrating the Opening of its 3,000th Restaurant With a 6-Figure Donation

13. Its grilled chicken recipe took seven years to perfect.

To get the recipe just right, it took Chick-fil-A lots of time and money to craft its Grilled Chicken recipe. In fact, it took a whopping seven years.

14. The company will never go public.

Before Cathy passed away in 2014, he made his children sign a contract agreeing that Chick-fil-A will always remain a private company. However, he did agree that they could sell it if they wished.

Related: Is Franchising Right For You? Ask Yourself These 9 Questions to Find Out.

15. Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwich recipe is locked up.

To make sure no one ever gets a hold of Chick-fil-A's secret chicken sandwich recipe, the company has locked it up in a vault at its headquarters in Atlanta.

16. Chick-fil-A sauce is just a medley of other sauces.

Chick-fil-A's famous sauce is no secret. In fact, in a tweet, the company revealed its simple formula: a blend of honey mustard, barbecue and ranch.

Related: Fast-Food Workers in California Now Earn a $20 Minimum Wage — Here's How This Will Impact Franchising

17. The restaurants use two pickles per sandwich.

The original sandwich created in 1964 used just two pickles per sandwich and its been made that way ever since.

18. Chick-fil-A helps its employees go to college.

Cathy was a big believer in higher education. Since 1973, Chick-fil-A has given more than $162 million in college scholarships to Chick-fil-A employees.

Related: One State's Bipartisan Bill Will Change the Franchise Industry — And Boost Responsible Franchising

19. It has a secret menu.

Like many other fast-food chains, Chick-fil-A offers its own secret menu. Some of the tasty items on this list include a double-decker sandwich, cheese fries, a chicken quesadilla, lettuce-wrapped sandwiches and a rootbeer float. However, according to Chick-fil-A, there is no secret menu and people just concoct and edit their own orders.

20. Chick-fil-A has a location inside an NFL stadium.

This is odd, of course, because Chick-fil-A locations stay closed on Sundays, when most football games take place. But as the company points out, the Caesars Superdome in Atlanta, home of the New Orleans Saints, hosts about 100 events per year, giving customers plenty of opportunities to chow down on chicken sandwiches and fries.

Clarissa Buch Zilberman

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Writer, Editor & Content Marketing Consultant

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor based in Miami. Specializing in lifestyle, business, and travel, her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Realtor.com, Travel + Leisure, and Bon Appétit, among other print and digital titles. Through her content marketing consultancy, By Clarissa, she leverages her extensive editorial background and unique industry insights to support enterprise organizations and global creative agencies with their B2B, B2C, and B2E content initiatives. 

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