If someone asked you to name a fast-food chain off the top of your head, McDonald's might be the first one that comes to mind. That's because McDonald's has been so dominant in fast food for so long.
But a recent news item in the Business section of the Times Free Press pointed out the sharply rising fortunes of another chain, Georgia-based Chik-fil-A.
In 2011, Chik-fil-A had the highest average sales per restaurant in the fast-food industry. Sales came to $2.7 million per restaurant -- ahead of McDonald's $2.4 million. While Chik-fil-A is smaller overall than big players such as McDonald's, it is growing rapidly, with more than 1,500 restaurants in 39 states and Washington, D.C. Its total sales are well over $3 billion per year.
What makes Chik-fil-A's success all the more remarkable is that it rang up its industry-leading sales figures even though it is closed on Sundays and most other chains are open seven days a week. Chik-fil-A bested its competitors despite foregoing Sunday revenue.
That is part of the Christian-oriented ethic with which Chik-fil-A founder Truett Cathy infused the chain when it was founded in the 1960s. He wanted a successful business, but he also wanted employees to have time with family and time to worship if they wished.
Judging from his restaurants' success, that business model appears to be a good one.