Take one look at the black-and-white spotted Chick-fil-A mascot and you’d probably never guess that the original name of founder Samuel Truett Cathy’s first restaurant was the Dwarf Grill. Opened in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia, the Dwarf Grill transformed into the Dwarf House and then became the popular “Eat Mor Chikin” chain of today.
Image Source: WSJ
Truett Cathy might not have attended college, but he was able to establish a successful restaurant that would affect millions of hungry people across the nation. Both he and his brother would work 12-hour shifts when the Dwarf Grill first opened. You can be sure that such levels of dedication have ingrained themselves into the cornerstone values that support the Chick-fil-A mission.
The Dwarf House birthed the original—and iconic—chicken sandwich. However, the first Chick-fil-A didn’t open its doors until 1967, in Atlanta, Georgia. And the rest, as they say, is Chick-fil-A history.
Why is it Called Chick-fil-A?
While most customers might think the “fil-A” part of the chain’s name could be linked to the word “fillet,” the origins are in fact closely related to the chicken itself. Truett Cathy insisted on using Grade-A chicken fillets for his sandwiches, so the “A” in the name speaks to this. Customers aren’t just buying a typical chicken sandwich—they’re getting the best meat out there. And, speaking of the type of meat, let’s take a closer look at the Chick-fil-A mascots. How did they ever come up with the idea, of representing a chicken chain via their spotted milk-giving competition?
The “Eat Mor Chikin” Cows
First arriving on the scene in 1995, the Chick-fil-A cows continue to draw customers and elicit a smile and a laugh. After all, what’s funnier than the competition’s source of income advertising for a chain whose menu is centered upon white meat? In fact, Cathy brings around tiny stuffed cows wherever he goes, handing them out to children to inspire the next generation.
Truth be told, this focus on chicken is really what sets Chick-fil-A apart from the rest of the big-name fast-food chains. You don’t have to watch Super Size Me to know that neither a Whopper nor a Big Mac can stand up to the lean white meat. At the same time, healthier options don’t have to come at the cost of flavor. Chick-fil-A’s signature sauce adds a blend of tastes to their Grade-A chicken.
This gratitude-filled phrase belongs to Chick-fil-A as much as the chicken-loving cows. Much more than company protocol, “my pleasure” stemmed from Truett Cathy’s experience at a fancy hotel. Impressed by the above-average service of one of the hotel’s staff, he returned and incorporated the phrase into the Chick-fil-A experience. Now, customers everywhere hear these same two words, as a thank you.
Did you know? In order to serve their customers the best chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A invested $50 million in a one-off grill design. The cast-iron grates bring out the unique flavors crucial to the Chick-fil-A taste. And just in case you didn’t know already, each year, Chick-fil-A celebrates Cow Appreciation Day where customers can dress up as a cow and get a free entree. True story.
So, the question remains: will you “eat mor chikin”? Let us know in the comments below.
Rebecca Henderson is the published author and professional editor at The Kreativ Space. Best expressing herself through the written word, she enjoys the smell of burning rubber as well. Rebecca hopes to shift your world perspective through her words, because looking out the same window every day hardly makes for an interesting life.