Chick-fil-A is dominating the fast-food industry in one key area and it reveals the secret to the chain's success

Hollis JohnsonChick-fil-A’s iconic chicken sandwich.
  • Chick-fil-A earned the No. 1 spot as America’s most beloved fast-food chain in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey.
  • This is the third year in a row that Chick-fil-A has topped the charts in ACSI’s survey.
  • Chick-fil-A’s reliably impressive customer service scores have played a major role in the chain’s explosive growth.

Chick-fil-A continues to top the charts as the most beloved fast-food chain in the industry.

The chicken chain earned the top spot in American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 2018 survey of customer satisfaction. Chick-fil-A earned 87 out of a possible 100 points, beating chains such as Panera Bread and Papa John’s.

This is the third year in a row that Chick-fil-A has earned the No. 1 spot in ACSI’s rankings. Customers rave about the restaurants’ cleanliness, quick, convenient service, and hardworking employees, as well as its high-quality food.

Chick-fil-A’s ability to guarantee customer satisfaction can be traced in part to the chain’s peculiar business model. The company accepts just 0.4% of franchisees, one of the most selective chains in the industry. Operators do not own or receive any equity in their business and can only open one location.

That’s in stark contrast with the rest of the industry, as many fast-food franchisees own hundreds of locations. Four franchise groups make more than $US1 billion a year, and 130 generate revenue of more than $US100 million, according to the Restaurant Finance Monitor.

Chick-fil-A has gone from a regional cult favourite to an increasingly dominant national chain in recent years, as it expands across the US.

The company’s sales grew by $US1 billion to $US9 billion in 2017, making it larger than Chipotle and KFC combined. Chick-fil-A is now the eighth-largest fast-food chain in the US by sales, with locations earning more on a per-restaurant basis than any other chain in the industry, according to QSR magazine.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.