Chick-fil-A Touts Transparency with Behind-the-Counter Tours, Healthier Options


Chick-fil-A has a handle on great fast food, good service, enthusiasm about the brand and a winsome advertising campaign. But the chain has spent a good deal of the last couple of years defending the traditional-values advocacy of CEO Dan Cathy, scion of the founder of Chick-fil-A; parrying accusations by the gay-rights community and attempting to come to some accommodation with them.

Now, back to what the brand really wants to be known for: its food and service. As part of a new “transparency push,” Advertising Age says Chick-fil-A will offer instant “behind-the-counter” tours to anyone who wants them. And it plans to overhaul its salads and line of chicken wraps to position them as even healthier menu options than before.

The tours are to be offered at Chick-fil-A’s 1,700 locations, the magazine said, on an instant basis. That could pose some operational challenges. “It’s a nice warm fuzzy, but the challenge is, how are they going to do this if they’re in the middle of a hugely busy lunch or dinner hour?” Joel Cohen, a restaurant-marketing consultant, told the magazine.[more]

A much easier gambit will be Chick-fil-A’s updating of its salads and wraps. Its salads now will include romaine lettuce, for instance, compared with the previous iceberg lettuce, and new dressings that are unique to the chain. Other new salads will come topped with Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets that are pressure-cooked in peanut oil.

“We took a hard look at our current salad line and decided those options were not as relevant to consumers as they were just a few short years ago,” David Farmer, vice presidnet of product strategy and development, said in a statement, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The new salads are intended to rival salads served at full-service restaurants.

As for wraps, the Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap now will include “a full serving of vegetables and lean chicken on a new all-natural, high-fiber flax bread.” Starting at $4.89, the wrap has 330 calories and 12 grams of fat.

McDonald’s is among other chains that, as AdAge put it, have come to rely on wraps “as the go-to items for fast-food chains looking to give off a healthier veneer.” Its new McWrap—termed a “Subway buster”—is meant to appeal to Millennials, especially, and comes in three varieties that range from 360 to 600 calories.

Chick-fil-A also said that it would add calorie counts to its menu boards nationwide; some type of more informative menu board eventually will be required of every restaurant chain under Obamacare. In any event, with its new products, Chick-fil-A will be giving customers fewer calories to count.