Surprisingly, it has very little to do with religion.
Nothing worse than craving Chick-fil-A’s celebrated chicken sandwich and waffle fries on the one day you can’t have it—Sunday.
In recent years, we’ve been led to believe that the Atlanta-based company closed all its chains on Sundays so that its super-friendly workers can attend church. But representatives for the fast-food giant are now publicly refuting that claim. Turns out, the real reason for Chick-fil-A only being in operation for six days a week has less to do with religion and more to do with giving its employees a better work-life balance.
Despite the company’s conservative beliefs and its emphasis on faith and family as their core values, Jodee Morgan, senior director of culture and talent operations at Chick-fil-A, insisted that the restaurant closes its doors one day of week for this one reason: employee satisfaction. Morgan spoke to Thrillist, an online media company specializing in the food and beverage industry, about Chick-fil-A’s closures.
According to Morgan, Chick-fil-A’s original founder, Samuel Truett Cathy, made it a point early on to establish necessary time off for his workers to maintain their self-care. Of course, that sort of conviction came with a cost. And for Chick-fil-A, that cost averages around $47.5 million dollars lost in revenue each year.
But Morgan suggested the restaurant missing out on all those potential earnings is worth it, if it means keeping its employees happy. Which may explain why we’re susceptible to believing their workers when they say, "My pleasure," while handing over those crispy, golden-brown nuggets and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
The policy actually started, though, when Truett Cathy was pulling all-nighters to open the first Chick-fil-A restaurant, The Dwarf Grill, in 1946.
"He would sleep next to the grill and jump up when he heard cars pulling up—the gravel driveway was his alarm clock," Morgan recalled.
Upon the realization that Truett Cathy was working tirelessly, only to not be able to enjoy the fruit of his labor, he began closing the restaurant one day a weekend to give himself and his employees an opportunity to rest and spend more time with their family and friends. The company-wide policy has remained in effect since then. But, it’s not by accident the restaurant chose Sunday as the day of respite. As hungry grubbers can see on Chick-fil-A’s website, the company states that Sundays are reserved so employees “can worship if they choose.”
In spite of that fact, Morgan added that the day off still comes down to employee satisfaction instead of religion.
Whether for religious observances or to ensure its employees continue to provide service with a smile, the present owners (Truett Cathy’s sons) have no plans of abolishing the policy anytime soon. So that means the chances of you scoring waffle fries on a Sunday are about as likely as the chicken salad returning to the menu.