When you’re craving a chicken sandwich, what’s the first place you think of? For many, the first place that comes to mind is Chick-fil-A.
Did you know that the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened on November 24, 1967, in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall?
What else do you know about the restaurant that serves your favorite chicken sandwich and signature waffle fries besides being closed on Sundays?
Take a look at these ten cheerful facts about Chick-fil-A to learn more.
Chick-fil-A invented the chicken sandwich.
It’s not just a marketing gimmick.
Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, is credited with inventing the chicken sandwich at the Dwarf Grill in Atlanta in 1964.
When he was given chicken breasts too large to fit in airline meal containers, the chicken sandwich came about.
Instead, he split, breaded, fried them, and put them on buns. Thus, the chicken sandwich was born.
This early version evolved into the sandwich we know and love today — chicken breasts coated in a breaded mixture of 20 spices served between two buttered buns and topped with two perfectly ripened pickles.
Their chicken sandwich recipe is a closely guarded secret.
Cathy’s chicken sandwich wasn’t perfect right out of the gate. He developed it over time, looking for the ideal combination of breading and spices.
Each time, he tested his new recipes on his customers. After his customers told him not to change it again, he didn’t.
The recipe was folded up, put in his pocket, and left unchanged. The chain has been using that same recipe for almost 55 years.
It is kept in a vault at the Atlanta headquarters.
Chick-fil-A’s name has a double meaning.
Founder Truett Cathy compared the chicken breasts he used for the sandwiches to the finest cut of beef (a beef filet).
But instead of running with “chicken filet,” he dropped the “et” at the end and added the “A.”
Why? The “A” represents the “Grade A” quality of chicken the restaurant serves.
Chicken sandwiches aren’t their most popular menu item.
Despite having the top-selling chicken sandwich in the United States, their chicken sandwiches aren’t the most popular item on their menu.
Which item takes the top spot? Their waffle fries. Waffle fries go with everything.
Their fun shape makes them dippable and dunkable, especially in their signature sauce.
The restaurant’s crispy waffle fries debuted in 1985 and have been going strong ever since.
They know how to turn lemons into lemonade.
When life gives you lemons, make 7.5 million gallons of lemonade. That’s what Chick-fil-A does.
As the largest purchaser of Sunkist lemons worldwide, the chain purchases more than 250 million lemons per year and serves 121 million cups of lemonade annually.
Lemons, sugar, and water are the only ingredients in their delicious drink.
Peanut oil is a key ingredient to their successful chicken sandwich.
In addition to buying more lemons than anyone else, Chick-fil-A is also the largest domestic buyer of peanut oil.
All locations use it exclusively for frying.
With its light and nutty flavor, their breaded chicken breast filets wouldn’t taste the same with any other oil.
It’s also healthier for you.
An important reason the chain uses peanut oil is that it is trans-fat-free.
The secret sauce is not so secret after all.
Have you ever snuck leftover packets of their sauce into your purse to enjoy at home later? No? Just us?
It turns out that it’s pretty easy to recreate the sauce yourself.
In 2012, the company revealed that its sauce was three sauces combined: honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and ranch.
Next time you crave Chick-fil-A sauce on a Sunday, look through your fridge for these ingredients, mix them together, and see how close you can get to the original.
Their pickles come from paradise.
It’s true. The pickles come from Paradise Farms in Almond, Wisconsin.
Since they’ve been in business since 1904, they know a thing or two about what makes a tasty pickle.
The cucumber slices are soaked for three days before ripening into the delicious pickles we know and love.
Chick-fil-A’s signature chicken sandwiches always come with two pickles in the center of the sandwich and no more (unless you ask for extra pickles, of course).
Despite only serving two pickle slices per sandwich, the chain serves 1.5 billion pickle slices each year.
Chick-fil-A offers free sandwiches for a year to the first 100 customers who come to a newly opened location.
Since 2003, every newly opened Chick-fil-A location has held an event called the First 100 Campout.
One hundred lucky winners receive free Chick-fil-A for a year as a thank you for being one of the first 100 to visit the restaurant.
Due to the pandemic, the restaurant franchise has temporarily ceased hosting campouts.
Instead, new locations offer free Chick-fil-A meals to hometown heroes who positively impact their communities.
Chick-fil-A wants its team members to have remarkable futures.
Since 1973, Chick-fil-A has awarded scholarships to many of its team members.
The program, called Remarkable Futures, doles out scholarships to workers who demonstrate leadership, academic achievement, and community service.
Since its inception, the program has given $49 million in funds to more than 39,000 team members.
The Remarkable Futures program has also partnered with 85 colleges and universities for tuition discounts of up to 30 percent.
If you’re a fan of the original chicken sandwich, the delicious waffle fries and lemonade, and the polite staff, you’ll appreciate all the thoughtfulness and care that goes into Chick-fil-A’s food and brand.
Through their community involvement, desire to help team members further their education and commitment to closing one day per week to focus on the family, it’s great to see a brand whose focus extends beyond profits.