The kids ran happily between our table and a nearby window, laughing and tossing their balloons in the air. Chick-fil-A had placed a little plush cow on every table in the restaurant and attached a balloon, some white, some black, and some speckled. Our kids had been given these little toys on a previous visit, so we assumed they were okay to take and play with. Uncle Eric didn’t agree. He said he had heard a Chick-fil-A lady say, “Those are decorations. You can’t have them”.
I scoffed. ”No, that couldn’t be. That would be completely un-Chick-fil-A!”
Not one minute later, I heard the lady telling the kids to put the balloons back –they weren’t for kids to play with. She promised she would bring some balloons that weren’t tied to little cows. We never did see those balloons.
As we sat and remarked about the ridiculousness of hosting a “Dress Like a Cow” party and then telling kids they couldn’t touch the decorations. Who did they think would be coming to this thing? The Bounce House outside clearly indicated they were anticipating children, so it follows that any cute cuddly thing left on EVERY table would be seen as a party favor.
“They didn’t say, ‘It is my pleasure’ at the register either”, Uncle Eric said.
What is happening to this place? “It is my pleasure” is like a trademark of Chick-fil-A. Sometimes I go through the drive-thru just to hear the kid say it (and to get some slamming good lemonade).
We speculated on these little things. Sure, it wasn’t much. A silly rule here. A little drop in friendliness there. But as I mentioned in this post, “It’s the little things that really make Chick-Fil-A stand out.” Was it just a crazy day? Was it a change in ownership?
Of course, Erie Chick-fil-A is till leaps and bounds ahead of other fast-food restaurants, but that’s not really the point.
The point is, Chick-fil-A has set a standard. They are ultra-nice, super helpful, and always glad to see you. It is their pleasure to serve you. They make you feel welcome and the bathrooms are always spotless. Because of these things, I usually can’t say enough nice things about Chick-fil-A. It’s why I spent an entire afternoon making cow shirts for our family. Sure, I got some free food — but I really did it because I have an fierce loyalty to Chick-fil-A. But if they are not going to hold to their own standard, I might switch my eating-out loyalty to Coffee Culture (after all, they do have Fair Trade!).
All this to say, little things DO make a BIG difference, in business and in church. And, if you start something, stick with it. Don’t work for a super high standard if you’re not going to be able to maintain it. People will notice. Strive for excellence and be consistent. Oh yeah, and keep the bathrooms clean.
What About You?
What’s your favorite business to patronize and why? Leave me a comment and let me know!