Chik-Fil-A: An American-Based Restaurant Chain

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Chick-fil-A refers to an American-based restaurant that deals with fast foods, headquartered in the Collage Park city which is located in Georgia. According to the company, its brand name stands for “Chicken Fillet”, with the capital A at the end of its name symbolizing top quality (Taylor, 2016). Founded in 1946, the company operates approximately 2200 restaurants which are primarily located in the US. The Chick-fil-A restaurants specialized in chicken sandwiches and serves breakfast before transitioning both to its dinner and lunch menus. Moreover, it also offers various customer centered selections; thus from its menu during special events.

Chik-fil-A Stakeholders

An organization’s stakeholders are termed as individuals or rather groups that tend to have an interest/concern in not only the success but also the progression of a business organization (The British Broadcasting Corporation, 2018). Moreover, stakeholders also refer to individuals that are either affected or affect an organization’s objectives, policies as well as actions. Concerning this, some of the Chik-fil-A stakeholders include the company’s management, creditors, suppliers, shareholders such as owners and investors, employees, its customers, as well as the community which the chain restaurant operates and draws its resources.

Chik-fil-A’s CSR Programs/Initiatives

Over the years, Chik-fil-A has been extensively involved in and also perused many CSR programs aimed at benefiting both the societies in which it operates and its stakeholders. These include,

Social CSR Initiatives for the Local Communities

Food donation Initiatives-Over the years, Chik-fil-A has been involved in numerous food donation initiatives such as the company’s Table program. Through the program, the company donates all its surplus food to different local shelters as well as soup kitchens which are defined as places where food is provided or rather offered to homeless people inclusive of those from lower-income neighbors (Chick-fil-A., n.d.). Moreover, through the program and the company’s foundation, Chik-fil-A also provides food assistance to victims as well as first responders during disaster periods. Such as in the case of both hurricane Irma and Harvey where the company through its foundation donated more than $308,000; thus to the Red Cross relief effort, in addition to donating 24,000 bottles of water to all the areas affected (Chick-fil-A Foundation, 2017).

Education Scholarships-Another community-based CSR program has been Chik-fil-A’s educational scholarships. According to the company, it exits for the purpose of helping children in not only achieving their goals but also becoming all they can be. In relation to this, through the True Inspiration Awards, the Chick-fil-A foundation provides both resources and grants to organizations that promote entrepreneurship among the youth, actively work in emerging leader development as well as those that promote innovative approaches to education (Chick-fil-A Foundation, 2017). In partnership with the Junior Achievement, the Chick-fil-A foundation works to expand economic as well as educational development in different communities. Through the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the company provides scholarship and charitable contributions to schools and foster care homes (Chick-fil-A., n.d). Using the Leadership Scholarship program the company provides scholarships to approximately 25 top students. Other CSR initiatives include annual youth camps, provision of books houses, donation of books, and year-round reading as well as school attendance programs (CSR Wire, 2005).

Community-Based Events- Chick-fil-A is currently pursuing creative ways of serving the communities such as through organizing social events. In most communities, the company supports military troops through military appreciation events, as well as schools through fundraiser events. Other important events include the Chick-fil-A’s annual conference, where in partnerships with other organizations, the company engages in food drives after which donations give to local food banks (Chick-fil-A Foundation, 2017).

Environmental Initiatives

In terms of environmental-based CSR initiatives, Chik-fil-A has place focus on recycling wastes to minimize environmental pollution. Concerning this, all the tray liners, napkins, as well as kid’s meal bags used by the company are made from content that is 100% recyclable. In relation to this, currently, Chik-fil-A recycles its foam cups in not less than 70% of its free-standing locations consequently, the company manages to reduce approximately 40% of its restaurants’ land-fill volume (Weebly, n.d.).

Chik-fil-A has also been continuously reviewing its overall packaging strategies while keeping constant communication with various suppliers in an effort to find the most effective and efficient recycling methods so as to reduce the amount of waste the restaurants sent to various landfills. Another initiative established by more than 1,200 Chik-fil-A restaurants is use of energy efficient retrofits which generally include the installation of refrigeration motors, efficient lighting systems, inclusive of faucet water restrictors that are energy saving (Weebly, n.d.). Construction materials used by at the company’s LEED locations are those that do not emit harmful gases into the environment, further following its recycling initiatives the company also uses recyclable construction materials; hence, more than half of its construction wastes is ultimately diverted from the landfills (Weebly, n.d.).

Employee Initiatives

Apart from community-based educational sponsorships, Chick-fil-A also invests heavily in employee educational scholarships such company’s “True Inspiration and Leadership Scholarship” initiative. Concerning this, the Chick-fil-A’s educational assistance program was established in 1973 when the company’s founder set a collection jar to aid one of his employees raise college funds. Over the decades, the company has awarded more than $61 million; in terms of scholarships, to approximately 46,700 team members/employees in order to enable them to achieve their dreams of perusing higher education (Chick-fil-A., 2018). In relation to this, for example in 2017, the company awarded 12 employees with a “True Inspiration Scholarship” worth $25,000 while about 3,427 employees were given a Leadership Scholarship that was worth $2,500 which amounted to an investment of not less than $8.8 million (Chick-fil-A Foundation, 2017).

Other educational sponsorship programs offered by Chick-fil-A for its employees include the “S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award” which is given to top 1,200-plus Leaders Scholarship recipients (CSR Wire, 2005). Following its establishment in 1997, more than $225,000; thus in scholarship money has been awarded to employees. Another employee sponsorship program is the WinShape Centre (R) Foundation which works in conjunction with Rome’s Berry College to provide co-op scholarships to the company’s team members interested in attending the college (CSR Wire, 2005). In addition to providing scholarships the company also supports its employees/team member’s educational pursuits through “A Tuition Reduced Network” with not less than 85 colleges as well as universities (Chick-fil-A Foundation, 2017).

Effects of Chick-fil-A’s CSR Initiatives on Stakeholders

Goals of the Initiatives

Some of the goals of Chick-fil-A’s social CSR initiatives such as the food donation initiatives include aiding people in need during disasters as well as to share their resources generously with the less fortunate people. According to the company, it is their primary goal to serve its communities like neighbors which is in accordance to its culture, “kindness is a higher calling” (Chick-fil-A., n.d).

Through the community educational initiatives the company aims at promoting positive influence on all the youths in the communities primarily by supporting youth entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation in the field of education. Another goal of community educational initiatives is providing students with an opportunity achieve their goals; with regard to education through scholarships. Furthermore, using these initiatives the company also seeks to not only inspire but also equip the next generation leaders with various opportunities that can aid them in building a better future (Chick-fil-A., n.d).

The primary objective of the community-based events include bringing together members of the community and the organization; hence, promoting an opportunity for interaction and building a positive brand image consequently increasing its sales and profit margins. On the other hand, Chick-fil-A’s environmental CSR initiatives aim at reducing environmental pollution; thus promoting sustainability, ensuring effective management of resources, and ensuring energy efficiency. The goal of the company’s employee CSR initiatives include increasing employee satisfaction and motivation levels while also providing an opportunity for career advancement.

Pros and Cons of Chick-fil-A’s CSR Initiatives

All the CSR initiatives highlighted in paper are ultimately beneficial to Chick-fil-A’s local communities, employees, as well as the environment. However, CSR initiatives such as Chick-fil-A’s “charitable” giving; thus to various anti-LGBT organizations is to a great extent detrimental to the company’s stakeholders. Concerning this, while conservatives defend the company’s actions as it promotes traditional Christian values, the company has attracted widespread criticism and bad publicity (Garfield, 2018). As a result, there have been numerous boycotts and protests from not only people from the LGBT community and activists but also the general public in support of gay rights against the company’s CSR initiative (Garfield, 2018). It is therefore important for the company to remain neutral on the controversial and highly contentious debate of gay marriage rights in an effort to protect both its brand image, reputation, as well as its profit margin.

Conclusively, perhaps one of the major pitfalls of Chick-fil-A’s CSRs is the fact that they are very costly; hence, increase the operational costs of the company. However, this costs are offset by increased sales due to its CSR initiatives, low employee turnover, as well as high customer retention rates. Regarding this, the company’s CSR programs have proved effective, because the company has managed to achieve tremendous success, as a result, the company greatly encourages its franchises to participate or rather get “entrenched” their various communities (Peterson, 2016). Owing to various factors such as its culture and CSR initiatives and programs, since its formation, the company has continued to experience an annual increase of more than 10% in sales; hence, staying ahead of most of its competitors (Kruse, 2015). Moreover, the Chick-fil-A’s retention rates has been approximately 96% for decades, while its employee retention rates have hovered between 95-97% over the years (Kruse, 2015). To improve its organizational performance further; hence, attaining a competitive advantage over its competitors, Chick-fil-A can also focus on more employee-based CSR initiatives aimed at providing employees with more benefits as well as rewarding/recognizing their efforts.

      

References

Chick-fil-A. (n.d). Chick-fil-A; About/Giving-Back. Retrieved from; https://www.Chick-fil-A.com/About/Giving-Back

Chick-fil-A. (2018). Remarkable Futures Scholarships. Retrieved from; https://www.Chick-fil-A.com/Remarkable-Futures-Scholarships

Chick-fil-A Foundation. (2017). 2017 Community Affairs & Foundation Stewardship Report. Retrieved from; https://www.Chick-fil-Afoundation.org/2017-stewardship-report

CSR Wire. (2005). CSR News; Chick-fil-A Reaches 20,000th Scholarship Milestone. Retrieved from; http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/19081-Chick-fil-A-Reaches-20-000th-Scholarship-Milestone

Garfield, L. (2018). Pro-LGBTQ-rights consumers vow to boycott Chick-fil-A after it announces it's opening in Toronto — here's why the fast-food chain is so controversial. Business Insider. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/Chick-fil-A-lgbt-twitter-jack-dorsey-apology-marriage-equality-2018-6?IR=T

Kruse, K. (2015). How Chick-fil-A Created A Culture That Lasts. Forbes. Retrieved from; https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2015/12/08/how-Chick-fil-A-created-a-culture-that-lasts/#6692afe73602

Peterson, H. (2016). Chick-fil-A is making big changes to take on Shake Shack and Chipotle. Business Insider. Retrieved from; https://www.businessinsider.com/Chick-fil-A-is-reinventing-itself-2016-3?IR=T

Taylor, K. (2016). The Incredible Story of how Chick-fil-A Took Over Fast Food. Business Insider. Retrieved From: https://www.businessinsider.com/Chick-fil-A-history-and-facts-2016-1?IR=T

The British Broadcasting Corporation. (2018). Stakeholders. BBC. Retrieved from; https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/guides/z4gcd2p/revision/1

Weebly. (n.d.). Chick-fil-A Restaurant Corporate Social Responsibility Guide. Retrieved from; https://eteconnectionsproject.weebly.com/Chick-fil-A.html

October 24, 2023
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