Best Chain Restaurant - 2009
Chick-fil-A lures you in with the cows. There they are, Godzilla-tall painted billboards with pleas such as "Eat Chikin, Cuddle Cowz," "Skip Beef, Not Brekfust" and "Vote Chikin: Itz Not Right Wing or Left." The cows may not have stellar spelling abilities, but their hide-saving suggestions are spot-on. From the traditional chicken sandwich to the crisp waffle fries to the fresh-squeezed (truly!) lemonade, the fare at this beloved chain is many, many rungs above typical fast food. Part of Chick-fil-A's charm comes from its sincere, family-oriented business ethos. Since 1967, when founder Truett Cathy opened the first location in an Atlanta mall, Chick-fil-A has been closed on Sunday. While Cathy respected people's desire to worship on Sunday, this move was not a religious one — rather, he believed all of his employees should have a day to rest, a day to spend with family and friends. That community-minded philosophy pays dividends: Chick-fil-A staffs have low turnover rates, the majority of franchise owners start as team members and the corporation enjoys great PR. Is there anything wrong with Chick-fil-A? Well, that'd be its relative scarcity in the St. Louis area. As those cows might say: Mor chikin in St. Loois pleez.