When it comes to fast food customer experience, Chick-fil-A is in a class by itself. However, with increased competition, capacity challenges, and rising customer expectations, the company needed to ensure it could continue to deliver on its reputation, now and into the future.
Chick-fil-A had a roadmap of independent projects across its drive-thru, in-restaurant, and digital channels—many of which Joe Smith had a hand in shaping. What was missing was an overarching strategy to define Chick-fil-A’s hospitality across all customer touchpoints.
Joe Smith would create a holistic and directive brand experience strategy that:
- Casts a vision for the future of hospitality and service
- Inspires concepts for drive-thru, inside-restaurant and digital
- Establishes a “system-thinking” approach to experience creation
- Provides direction for prioritizing initiatives for the Hospitality and Service Design team
Over the course of eight months, we worked with four different, cross-functional Chick-fil-A teams: Strategy, Inside-Restaurant, Drive-thru and Digital. We guided each team through a combination of real-world, off-site explorations (from amusement parks to cemeteries) and ideation sessions to fuel fresh thinking around customer experience. We then developed new concepts in the form of customer journey maps and tested them live with customers.
From there we developed a set of experience principles to inform all hospitality and service experiences, then packaged all the above into a strategic document that included recommendations for activation and prioritization of initiatives.
Results and ripple effects
The in years following this project, Chick-fil-A has emerged as one of America's fastest-growing fast-food chains. A success propelled in no small part by its industry-leading customer service rankings. Chick-fil-A's embrace and continued evolution of the experience strategy we shaped together has helped to influence new projects and experience designs as the company continues to win with customers.