My boys were like feral children.
Winter seemed unending. I was tired. The boys were wound way, way up, trapped by the harsh conditions outdoors and the limited confines of our home.
Normally, the prospect of wrangling two boys into the car and into a booth at a restaurant is unappealing. But in this case, a trip to Chick-fil-A felt like a timeout for a basketball team whose opponent was surging. My kids had the momentum and were running away with the game. I needed to change strategies. Immediately.
I loaded the kids up in the car and three minutes later (I know, I hit the neighborhood jackpot with a CFA so close), we pulled into the parking lot. The warmth of the restaurant and the unmistakable aroma of fried chicken greeted us.
But it’s more than the close proximity that draws us back again and again. Here are the three reasons I love Chick-fil-A. And, I’ve conferred with enough dads to know I’m not alone.
I’ve been to enough fast food restaurants to know there’s a major sanitation difference between CFA and its competitors. Even with the hordes of small children who crowd into the facilities each day, the playgrounds at Chick-fil-A’s always seem to be relatively clean and in working repair. On cold or rainy days particularly, a trip to Chick-fil-A provides dads a controlled, cheap play option for their kids.
It’s the little things. The table-adhering placemats. The free drink refills for me. The right-sized $.93 kids cones. The staff tray deliveries and table cleanups. It just makes for a low-stress experience for dads. Chick-fil-A’s commitment to their customers has been well-documented. It’s the reason the fast food chain has been rated America’s favorite fast food restaurant for a long time. The service culture at Chick-fil-A isn’t just great as a customer, it’s also a great object lesson for talking with your kids about the importance of serving others.
Listen, it’s still fast food. But I’ve gotten a backstage kitchen tour (ask for one; they’ll give it to you) and the quality standard is high. The chicken is fresh and breaded each day. The lemonade is packed with real lemons. The food is cooked in high-quality peanut oil. The kids’ meals come with fruit and milk. I wouldn’t feed my kid fast food every day, but Chick-fil-A delivers real food and relatively high nutritional value.
An hour later, we walked out of our Chick-fil-A with full bellies and with some much-needed energy exerted. CFA delivered again, the perfect change of pace for my weather-forlorn family.
Bonus: Chick-fil-A Hacks
Here are a few extra nuggets (sorrynotsorry for the pun) to help you make the most of your next CFA trip:
1 – Keep your receipts! At least 20% of the time, we receive a free CFA sandwich coupon on our receipts. All that’s required of you is to complete a simple online survey. Our family has probably earned a few dozen free sandwiches this way.
2 – Swap the toy: If your kid isn’t into the toy he or she found in her children’s meal, no worries! CFA has a policy where kids can swap their toys for a kid’s Icedream cone. CFA retains the toy for another kid. Your kid gets ice cream. Win-win!
3 – The kid’s cone: It’s not on the menu. But, for less than $1, you can get your kids a mini cone, right-sized and right-priced for young kids.
4 – 10:45 freebies: If you’re in the neighborhood of CFA around 10:30-11:00, you may be the lucky beneficiary of some breakfast swag–biscuits, breakfast burritos, et al.
Postscript: Can you relate to weather-related restlessness? Are you lacking ideas on how to creatively engage your kids? We’ve got you covered.