Chick-Fil-A(+) or Chick-Fil-D(-); How sustainable are they?

After much thought and research into different companies, I decided to write about Chick-Fil-A for Paper 2. Chick-Fil-A is a very interesting company when looking at them through the lens of business ethics. They have very visibly different strengths and weaknesses regarding business ethics.

Although they are expanding their locations, they remain very southern company. Their company culture and basis for business decisions follow Christian ideals, and they are not shy about voicing these opinions. For example, Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sunday’s purely for their employees to go to Church.

Their CEO, Dan Cathy, voiced his opinions on same sex marriage to stir a large debate. In 2012 Chick-Fil-A underwent intense scrutiny for Cathy’s unapologetic words. The news went viral and many consumers looked at Chick-Fil-A differently. Protestors including LGBT members began to show up to various Chick-Fil-A locations to irritate CEO, Dan Cathy.


At the same time, supporters of Cathy and his voiced beliefs created Chick-Fil-A Appreciation day, which became a huge success. The picture below shows the line of people out the door at a location on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.


Ultimately, the protestors’ plan backfired as they brought more business to Chick-Fil-A, which allowed the company to see sales soar 12% in 2012 (Huffington Post).

This interesting mix of religion and business has clearly led to some tough times for Chick-Fil-A, and I think it would make a great Paper 2 to dive deeper into this topic.

On another note, Chick-Fil-A’s dedication to environmental sustainability is an interesting contrast to their social ideology. Following their Christian beliefs, Chick-Fil-A writes in their Corporate Purpose that they “will be a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to them”, referring to their environmental footprint. They are the first of their kind to open a LEED Gold restaurant in Texas. Innovative practices like these in terms of environmental awareness set Chick-Fil-A apart from other companies.


The contrast of strong environmental sustainability standards with weak social values is very interesting from a business perspective, and I want to further research this topic in Paper 2.



Salbu, Steve. “Let Chick-fil-A Fly Free.” New York Times 2 Aug. 2012: A21(L). Global Issues In Context. Web. 6 Nov. 2014.

Used Hoover’s search of Chick-Fil-A for company information


7 responses to “Chick-Fil-A(+) or Chick-Fil-D(-); How sustainable are they?

  1. I think Chick-Fil-A is going to be a really interesting company to study for Paper 2. I live in New Jersey and there are not many Chick-Fil-A’s in the area. Recently they built one in my town and people were outraged when they found out it was closed on Sundays. No other fast food restaurants do this so when the first Sunday came around and they were closed people were in shock. Chick-Fil-A clearly feel it is their duty to give their employees Sundays off, rather than supply customers with food on Sunday. This might be an interesting point to bring into your ethical analysis.


  2. I think the Chick-Fil-A case study is most interesting because of how political it seems to be. Their southern roots led them to be a very morally conservative company, valuing religion enough to give their employees Sundays off and make very blatant anti-homosexual statements. I think it poses quite a conundrum to potential customers who are liberal or who may be conservative but not value religion or disagree with their anti-gay sentiments, because they have to choose between purchasing delicious food and betraying their values. I think this raises an interesting question of ethics to Chick-Fil-A; do they have an ethical obligation to create value for any and all potential customers? Is it their prerogative to alienate and even blatantly discriminate against a huge percentage of the population, or is it their responsibility to at the very least respect all of them? If I were you, this is the ethical lens I would analyze the company through, because I personally find their environmental initiatives as less provocative, but maybe you could find a way to discuss them if you analyzed Chick-Fil-A very broadly if you still wanted to include them.


  3. I’m glad you’ve decided to write about Chick-Fil-A! It will be interesting to explore a company which has obviously angered many by blatantly stating their controversial moral values yet has managed to thrive. I definitely find this to be the most interesting aspect of the company, but I would also be interested to learn more about their sustainability efforts. Are they leading the pack or just following a trend?


  4. I think your specific case about Chick-Fil-A is incredibly interesting. It’s not often that you find social conservative companies supporting sustainability. Do you think Chick-Fil-A is the only company of its kind? Are you going to try and find more if it is not?


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