I worked at Chick-fil-A from junior year of high school through the summer before junior year of college. These were four long and sometimes painful years, and I would always joke with my friends and co-workers and say that one day I was going to write a book about working at Chick-fil-A.
Not quite a book, but here it is. Working in the food service industry taught me so many things about food service, about myself and about life in general.
The following list is only a small portion of the things you learn while working at Chick-fil-A:
1. How to make a bomb milkshake.
"Would you like whipped cream and a cherry on top?"
At Chick-fil-A, you learn how to blend exactly the right ingredients and toppings to create some delicious milkshakes that customers love and order way too many of (usually in drive-thru).
2. How to multitask like you never have before.
Speaking of customers ordering 14 milkshakes in the drive-thru, you have to be able to multitask. And, if you aren't good at multitasking, you will quickly learn how to be better (or you won't be working in drive-thru, which isn't a bad thing).
Anyway, you have to be making drinks and milkshakes, while taking orders, while communicating with your co-workers, while ringing in customers' orders.
It sounds like utter chaos because it is.
3. All of the different names for "Polynesian sauce."
This one is hilariously informative, and keeps you laughing. You hear everything from "parmesan" to "polyester" to "Pomeranian" (yes) to "Parmenesian" (this isn't even a word) to "that red sauce." Basically, you name any long-ish word that starts with P, we've heard it being used to refer to Polynesian sauce.
4. How to keep yourself busy.
We've all heard it one too many times, "If there's time to lean, there's time to clean." You better not be caught just standing around with nothing to do. And if you are, you will quickly be assigned something to do. You learn to keep yourself busy without having to be told. And everyone's favorite? Stocking sauces. But there's always wiping down the counters, cleaning trays, stocking other random items — anything you can possibly find.
5. How to make the last ice cubes in your bin last as long as possible.
You're super busy during lunch or dinner rush, and the last thing you have time for is running to the back to fill up a bucket with ice and bring it up front for yourself. So, you have about 40 ice cubes left (which actually isn't a lot when there is a restaurant full of customers), and you will scrape the bottom of your bin until there are zero ice cubes left. The struggle is real sometimes, y'all.
6. How to basically turn into a human rubber band in drive-thru.
We all know that every day there are those customers who drive up to the window and are about four feet away from the window. This situation leaves you literally hanging out the window trying to reach them to get their money and hand them their food. Especially if you are a short human, this can actually be physically painful.
7. To respond to every "thank you" with, "My pleasure."
I left Chick-fil-A about six months ago, and my first instinct when someone says, "Thanks," to me is still to respond with, "My pleasure." I mean there are definitely worse habits to have, but it's kind of weird when you hold the door for a stranger and when they thank you, you respond with, "It's my pleasure." Talk about funny looks.
8. How to rock those hot uniforms.
I have definitely seen worse uniforms at fast food restaurants, but still, they aren't the most fashionable things. But I think we CFA employees make them look pretty good — never mind the shoes. My old coworkers are still teasing me about my Chick-fil-A "mom" shoes. I mean, it's not like Shoes for Crews gave us the most stylish choices. These aren't that bad you guys (you know who you are).
9. To be ridiculously accommodating.
I know, we are supposed to keep customer service first, always. But let's face it, customers order some crazy stuff sometimes. Like really crazy. How do people even think of this stuff?
"Can I get a Grilled Market Salad with no green apples, extra blueberries, no blue cheese, no carrots, extra red cabbage and hot chicken?"
Absolutely. No problem. It's my pleasure. This is Chick-fil-A.
10. Extreme patience.
I think if I had to choose one thing that I really improved on while working at CFA, it would be patience. You have to learn how to be patient with those customers who can't decide what to order, who have small children, who can't find their money, who are talking on the phone while ordering, the list just goes on and on.
Although it's pretty annoying when you are trying to serve customers, you will learn to be extremely patient, and you carry this with you to other jobs and just to other aspects of your life.
11. Two words: Self-control.
This is a big one. Inevitably, customers will get mad at you and be rude to you along the way. And this goes for wherever you work — not just Chick-fil-A. But when a customer is being ridiculous and yelling at you for something that isn't even close to being your fault (and isn't even that big of a deal), it's so hard not to snap back at them and tell them what they probably need to hear.
But again, this is Chick-fil-A, and you can't do that. You have to listen calmly, apologize (even if they're obviously wrong) and do everything you can to fix their problem. This is so difficult, but once you learn to have self-control, it's a skill you can take with you to any job and any life situation.
12. That you are working with some of the absolute best people in the world.
When you work with these people multiple times a week and share these experiences with them, you become really close really fast. I am so blessed to say that some of the people I previously worked with at Chick-fil-A are still some of my best friends. Contrary to popular belief, it's not always a "great day at Chick-fil-A," but when you are working with such amazing people, you can still leave work on the worst days with a smile on your face.