The Problem

In early 2015, Chick-fil-A embraced that question with the intent to discover what could be on the horizon for their Kids and Family experience. As a brand, the franchise had always focused on feeding and nourishing families from the inside-out. They tailored their products, service and environment to provide for kids and parents in a way that surpassed the competition. But other fast food chains wised up. 

They started to offer competing products and experiences with greater attention to detail, healthier options and more considerate accommodations for families. Chick-fil-A knew it couldn’t rest on its track record. They needed to find new ways to serve their customers on a deeper level and further distinguish themselves as “the place” to grab a quick meal as a family. They had to seek what’s next… but with focus. 


Our Solution

The restaurant asked Joe Smith to help define a set of experience principles that would distinguish it from competitors and provide direction for innovation. We started by designing and delivering an exploration and creative session that would build draft principles for their Kids and Family experience and generate concepts for new products, services and experiences at their restaurants.

The event took a diverse team of Chick-fil-A department leaders through a two-day journey with day one designed as an ethnographic exploration, and day two intended to co-create principles and rapid prototype ideas.

We used three family profiles to see the restaurant and other experiences through the eyes of kids and parents. Observations were captured and converted into insights that would drive the next days prototyping activities. Using a customer experience map built by Joe Smith, the team assessed the family journey at their stores, categorized ideas and used materials to build small scale prototypes. We then applied draft experience principles to determine their effectiveness, fit and uniqueness to the brand.


The Results

By determining Chick-fil-A’s points of pain and pleasure, getting inspired by the family behaviors and capturing observations from other retail models, the Chick-fil-A team was able to develop well-thought out draft principles and concepts.

From there, Joe Smith further shaped the experience principles, refined concepts and helped build a roadmap for improvements to the Kid and Family experience over the next three years.