It’s no secret that we’re living in an era where brands are acting particularly thirsty. Vita Coco responded to a mean tweet with a photo of an employee holding a jar of urine, Natty Light gave away an actual (surprisingly nice) “dorm room”, and Good Humor asked RZA to create a new ice cream truck song. So, it’s a little surprising that when an enterprising Chick-fil-A employee created a viral TikTok video revealing a menu hack, instead of lauding her for the millions of hits the company did nothing to earn, it instead decided to terminate her employment.
The story, as reported by Inc., is irritating not just because someone lost their food service industry job during a pandemic, but because Chick-fil-A definitely views itself as an upright, moral company, but doesn’t really seem to understand how amoral it is to fire someone for creating a video that, really, helps the brand more than it hurts it.
The “menu hack” in question involves Chick-fil-A’s seasonal Mango Passion Tea Lemonade. The TikTok video instructs viewers to order the Arnold Palmer instead—which is much cheaper—and request four pumps of mango-flavored syrup, which will effectively create the Mango Passion Tea Lemonade for half the price of the genuine article. And sure, you could argue that the video encourages customers to cheat the system, but the fact is that brands pay huge amounts of money for social media campaigns that don’t even begin to approach the virality of what this now fired employee generated for Chick-fil-A. Plus, who goes to a fast food restaurant only to order a janky seasonal lemonade? You know that customer is also going to get a chicken sandwich to go along with it, so the worst case scenario is that the hacked drink is a loss leader. Chick-fil-A is the clear winner in this scenario.
Unfortunately for Chick-fil-A, not only did the first video from the employee go viral (whose TikTok account is @anasteeezy), but her follow-up video, in which she talks about being fired, is gaining a lot of traction as well.