Chic Fila vs McDonald’s: Lesson From the Guest Experience

There are a lot of ways you can you can compare and contrast these two fast food restaurants, but I noticed something the other day with regard to how each handles the lunch rush.

We went for a lunch at McDonald’s. Like any rush at a McDonald’s there was a line to order and a line waiting for their food. My friends sat down waiting for our food and one commented about how much better a Chic Fila was run. Here was a general lunch rush and McDonald’s couldn’t keep up, while Chic Fila never seemed to have any problems with rushes, though they seemed to be just a busy during the meal times.

I thought about it for a second, and realized that it wasn’t that Chic Fila was that much faster than McDonald’s in making food, but the key difference is that Chic Fila will often bring your food out if there is a wait. (Some McDonald’s may as well, but I’ve been to enough to know it’s not common.) Franchises in malls have the same lines of waiting people that other fast food restaurants do, but their stand alone locations almost always have people find a seat, and bring their orders out when things get backed up.

The result is not only a feeling of a better run establishment, but a feeling that they care about you. There is no standing idle in earshot of every comment from the kitchen. The time is spent sitting at your table, with your drink, chatting with your friends and family, just like a sit down restaurant.

Chic Fila allows me to be comfortable at my table where I can talk with my friends, and makes me feel like they are adding layers of service to a fast food meal simply by having someone staffed to walk the orders out to guests. I get the impression that things are better run, whether they are or not. I have a more pleasant experience, and am more willing to come back when the restaurant is busy.

But if I see a McDonald’s with a long line, I may choose to go somewhere else. This one small thing helps set Chic Fila apart from other fast food restaurants.

What are we as ministries doing that gives the impression we don’t work efficiently? What little thing can we do that would make a first time experience better for guests? How can we make people comfortable?