This week, a Chick-fil-A in Hendersonville, North Carolina put up a now-deleted post on its Facebook page asking for volunteers to work its new “drive-thru express” lane. Volunteering, as in, you know, working for free. But the fast food giant tried to lure workers with a non-monetary incentive. According to a screenshot of the Facebook post published by Business Insider, volunteers were offered the opportunity to “earn” five “free” entrees per shift.
Presumably Chick-fil-A is “earning” actual “money” from its drive-thru express lane, which in a June statement the chain called a “game-changer for our busy customers and our Team Members.” Why is it a game changer? Because it’s the “quickest and easiest way to order and pick up a meal yet,” according to the press release.
In other words, it was designed to boost efficiency, which in the context of a fast food restaurant means selling more sandwiches and making more money in less time. Seems like that would produce more money with which to pay people, right?
Chick-fil-A, and in particular the Hendersonville store, has received an appropriate amount (read: a lot) of backlash since posting and subsequently removing the call for volunteers. In the absence of the post itself, people have taken to posting their dissatisfaction in the comments under other Chick-fil-A posts, many of which feature smiling team members who, we hope, were paid with money instead of chicken.
In response, the restaurant limited commenting on some of the posts and responded to several comments to say it offers $14 per hour for part-time employees and $19 per hour for full-time employees but not directly addressing why people are asking things like, “How many chicken nuggets do you offer per hour?” As of now, three days after the post went up, the Facebook page still does not have an official statement regarding the original post. It’s as if it never existed. It’s also not addressed on Chick-fil-A’s official Twitter account or its Twitter account dedicated to Chick-fil-A news.
As Kate Bernot succinctly wrote in The Takeout in 2019, “Any article about Chick-fil-A must make note of the company’s stance against gay marriage.” In 2012, CEO Dan Kathy spoke publicly about the company’s embrace of “biblical values” and “the biblical definition of the family unit.” In 2019, the company came under scrutiny for unabashedly supporting the Salvation Army and the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes, each tied to anti-LGBTQ policies.