Chick-fil-A is one of the most popular fast food chains in America, and that’s true both with customers who can’t get enough of the restaurant’s beloved sandwiches, salads, nuggets, and more and also with Chick-fil-A employees, who by in large report good experiences from their experience working there.
Chick-fil-A currently enjoys a four out of five star rating on Indeed, and that’s with well over 17,000 employee reviews posted at present. One former employee said, "The workers and managers and owner were all nice and supportive," while another stated, "I loved [working] there, great staff, great amazing people that work there," and yet another former Chick-fil-A employee’s review read in part that there are "good benefits and most of the employees obviously want to be there."
All those good vibes aside, though, there are some decidedly unique rules Chick-fil-A workers have to follow. These include a few rules that are a bit strict but sensible, a few that are a bit controlling but make sense given the culture of the chain, and some that are clearly all about the bottom line. Here are eight of the weird rules that Chick-fil-A employees must follow if they want to keep enjoying the "pleasure" of serving the customers.
Chick-fil-A employees are encouraged to go beyond "You’re Welcome" — thanks to this luxury hotel
When you say "thank you" after getting your order from a Chick-fil-A employee you won’t hear "you’re welcome" in response. You’ll actually hear the more formal "my pleasure." This is not necessarily because whatever just occurred was to the employee’s enjoyment, but it’s rather because "my pleasure" is the response encouraged by Chick-fil-A.
The practice of saying "my pleasure" instead of a "you’re welcome" or "no problem" or "sure thing, champ!" started when the chain’s founder, Truett Cathy, was staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, reports Taste of Home. A Ritz-Carlton employee replied to Cathy’s words of thanks with those two fateful words, and Cathy was completely taken with the phrase, which he felt truly "elevated" his experience. He requested that "my pleasure" be used by employees of Chick-fil-A, and it eventually caught on and continues to today. In fact, many former employees report it almost impossible to stop using "my pleasure" even in locations where it’s not always required.
Visible tattoos are not allowed at most Chick-fil-A locations
Until a few short years ago, visible tattoos were banned company-wide for Chick-fil-A employees, and workers were required to buy specialty sleeves or other garments that covered any tattoos visible on arms or other body parts. Today the company has dispensed with an official policy banning visible tattoos, but they are still prohibited at many Chick-fil-A franchise locations.
And while not expressly prohibited by overall policy, a look through comments from Chick-fil-A employees on work-related sites like Glassdoor, SimplyHired, and Indeed reveal a culture generally opposed to visible ink. That said, many locations are relatively flexible about the unofficial policy, so a tattoo is no reason not to apply for a position working at Chik-fil-A. But if you also have dental or body modifications, or if you wear strong perfumes or excessive makeup, you might want to alter your style before applying to work at the franchise.
Chick-fil-A is picky about employee facial hair
If you love rocking a cherished beard, a great goatee, or some Ambrose Burnside-level chops, you’ll need to look elsewhere than Chick-fil-A for your next job. Chick-fil-A employees are not allowed to have any facial hair beyond a neatly trimmed mustache, such as is permitted by military regulations, Vox reports. A person’s mustache must not be wider than his mouth and can’t be long and thick, and side burns also have to be trimmed.
This police is strictly enforced, as is made clear by store policy handbooks at many Chick-fil-A locations in the US. A team member handbook from a Chick-fil-A in Mesa, Arizona says in part that "facial hair, other than a neatly trimmed mustache, is unacceptable." The exact same phrase can be found in the employee handbook for a Hollywood, California Chick-fil-A.
And a "Team Member Appearance" memo from a Chick-fil-A on Fulton Street in New York City goes so far as to dictate that any team member presenting improper facial hair at work "must go buy a razor and shave before being clocked in or be sent home."
Chick-fil-A employees are also limited when it comes to nail styles
Many Chick-fil-A team member handbooks contain this rule: "False fingernails are not allowed in customer service areas or food preparation areas." So that means, in effect, that false nails can’t be worn anywhere at work. And it makes sense for a restaurant to limit something like large acrylic nails that can easily detach and risk falling into a customer’s food — that type of policy is purely pragmatic and not an issue concerning anyone’s personal sense of style or self-expression. And in fact, there are even laws in the books in many states concerning fake nails, according to the National Restaurant Association. Chick-fil-A rules do, however, go beyond state law and do indeed concern style and self-expression.
Most locations do not allow any nail polish beyond discreet, solid colored polish or, according to former CFA employees commenting on Indeed, French manicured nails, wherein the outer edge of the nails are painted white and the rest of the nail is either nude in polish color or is simply coated in a clear polish. Do note that Chick-fil-A is not the only restaurant with this policy because health code requirements in many places that relate to polish potentially chipping during food prep, according to StateFoodSafety.
Politeness at all times is a requirement of Chick-fil-A employees
If you want to work at a Chick-fil-A, you had better either be a very polite person or be able to act like a very polite person for an entire shift multiple days a week, because any lack of friendly positivity is now allowed of a Chick-fil-A employee. The entire corporate culture of Chick-fil-A is built around unflagging politeness, and many employees report that being polite has to start right from your initial job interview.
One former Chick-fil-A employee who left a posting regarding the interview process on the employment website job-applications.com said in part: "My best advice is to be yourself, be polite, and dress nice…. CFA is a customer oriented company so make sure you can show them that [saying] yes ma’am, yes sir, no thank you, my pleasure, etc." So start off with a great attitude and keep it that way, in other words.
"Unnatural" hair dye is not permitted for Chick-fil-A employees
If you work at a Chick-fil-A and you want to get your hair dyed, that’s no problem at all — assuming, that is, you get your hair dyed black, brown, blonde, red, or some variety of these naturally occurring hair colors. That’s because unnatural hair dye colors are banned for Chick-fil-A employees. That means no blues, pinks, greens, purples, and so on, even if they are just streaks of color highlighting your natural hair. And easy on the styling, too. Many Chick-fil-A employee handbooks contain this rule: "Unnatural hair colors or eccentric styles (e.g., Mohawks, shaven designs, etc.) are not permitted."
Unlike with nail polish, where at least there is some logic to banning materials that could crack and fall into food, the ban on hair dye at Chick-fil-A seems to be a product of the company’s conservative culture. The reserved style required by the rules of the restaurant may dissuade some people from even applying to work there, while in other cases it may force employees to conceal their own sense of style or even sense of self while at work.
Chick-fil-A employees can’t give you "well done" fries anymore
For many people, those delicious Chick-fil-A waffle-cut french fries are as much a draw as Chick-fil-A’s vaunted chicken sandwiches, and many of those fry-lovers would love to get their french fries "well done." When you ask for your fries "well done," what it means is fried twice, as in a Chick-fil-A employee would literally re-submerge your already finished French fries back in hot cooking oil and deep fry them again, the result being a darker, crunchier, and all around more delightful food. This was a favorite semi-secret menu hack for many people.
But sadly, employees at many Chick-fil-A restaurants are now banned from giving customers well done fries even when asked. The main reason they can no longer give fries well done, according to employees, is simply that re-frying French fries takes too long, slowing down progress in the kitchen as the fries take up fryer space and slowing down fulfillment of orders at the counter or in the drive-through lane.
Chick-fil-A franchise operators may only run 1 location at a time
Owning and operating a string of fast food restaurants can make you a very wealthy person indeed. If you work hard and you have a spot of good luck, owning one Chick-fil-A franchise can make somewhat flush as well, but you’d better not try to expand your fast food restaurant empire beyond that one location, because that’s against the rules. According to Franchise Business Review, Chick-fil-A franchise owners may only have one Chick-fil-A restaurant at any time and no other business ventures.
This rule forces Chick-fil-A franchisees to put all of their time and energy into their one location, and it also means that no franchisee will develop much power over the larger chain. So, while Chick-fil-A restaurants may be famously affordable though challenging to acquire, know that you will almost surely not expand beyond one restaurant if you are looking to get into the chicken-centric fast food business. Note that according to Business Insider "there are exceptions, [but] franchise operators generally get to run only one store at a time."