Originally printed on my monthly column at ChamberofCommerce.com:

Today we are going to take a look at Chick-fil-a. This quick serve restaurant (political and religious views notwithstanding) epitomizes marketing by giving little unexpected extras (g.l.u.e) to customers. They are a five time entrant into the Purple Goldfish Project at #125, #641, #814, #841 and #1,028.

Let’s look at a Top 10 list:

  1. Waiting: Indoor Play Area. A contained and well maintained area for small kids to play in. Great for parents.

  2. In the bag / out of the box: Mints. Go through the drive-thru at Chick-fil-a and more than likely you’ll find something at the bottom of your bag.

  3. Convenience: Purell wipes. Convenient packets right outside the play area.

  4. Special needs: Customers in Training. Take an infant or toddler to Chick-fil-a . . . no problem. They provide little cups of Cheerios.

  5. Handling mistakes: The best way to handle mistakes is not to make them. This is a small thing, but Chick-fil-a makes a point to repeat and ask for confirmation on your order.
  6. Pay it Forward: Fundraising for local schools. Chick-fil-a will give back a percentage of sales for school sponsored sites. An added bonus, Chick-fil-a allows for customers to spin to win for 50 cents. All proceeds go to the school and Chick-fil-a hands out gift cards for free food and drinks. Everyone is a winner.

  7. Added Service: Chick-fil-a supplies umbrellas in the doorway. Convenient if you get caught in a rainstorm.

  8. Convenience: Bike racks provided out front. Good for the environment and great for customers.

  9. Throw-ins: Free refills. Managers and employees walk around the dining room. Not only do they ask how everything is, but they offer to get you free refills.
  10. First / Last Impressions: Flowers on the table. A nice small touch in the dining portion of the restaurant.

Did I miss any signature extras from Chick-fil-a? Are you doing the little things for your customers? I look forward to seeing your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Tim Hawkins is a singer / comedian who just loves his Chick-fil-A. He’s written two song parodies dedicated to the folks who invented the Chicken Sandwich. Which one is better? You decide: