The secret is out.
Chick-fil-A is a Southern staple. We've loved and lost the Carrot-and-Raisin Salad, and are still a little sour about the removal of our beloved Lemon Pie. But, one item on Chick-fil-A's menu that has our heart fully – and won't change – is the restaurants iconic fried chicken fillets. Known best when sandwiched on a bun with a couple of pickles, Chick-fil-A's classic chicken sandwich is the one we crave on Sundays (and, promptly pick up on Mondays). The chicken is tender, crispy, and flavorful, begging the question – how does a fast food chain master fried chicken so perfectly?
To answer this question, we took a visit to Chick-fil-A's Atlanta, Georgia headquarters, where the company has a handful of test kitchens, mock restaurants, and an innovation center – all of which are there to help the company improve their already-successful business model. One of our stops, of course, was to visit Alexa Griffith in Culinary Commercialization, who gave us the scoop on how Chick-fil-A breads each sandwich perfectly. The technique is similar to how we'd make Mama's fried chicken, with one notable difference: there's some exercise involved. Chick-fil-A employees, who hand-bread all of the restaurant's chicken daily, are encouraged to get up on their tip-toes to firmly knead the seasoned flour mixture into the meat, repeating the process on both sides. According to Alexa, it's hard work. "You're using some calf muscles...So think about doing this for an entire shift. Our team members get their workout in."