I get many people who ask me why I write this blog...
In order to understand why I write, it is important to understand what this blog is all about first.
Whether this is your first time reading my blog or your 10th time, you should know my intense passion for writing.
When I mean writing, I don't mean writing school papers or obligatory "happy birthday" posts on my friend's Facebook pages.
I mean real writing. The type of writing that brings me to tears (in a good way).
I write this blog because Chick-fil-A has changed my life.
Growing up in a culture where being passive and non-enthusiastic is considered "cool," I have found myself standing out from the "in" crowd practically my entire life.
You see, I believe in being an enthusiast with EVERYTHING I do.
Whether I'm buying groceries or at the doctors office, I try to be as enthusiastic as possible.
Before working at Chick-fil-A, I worked at a clothing store where I was told by my boss's boss (an important guy who came to visit our store for the day... KIND OF a big deal) to be LESS enthusiastic.
I remember thinking "SERIOUSLY?!?!?! BUT THAT'S NOT WHO I AM! IT'S NOT IN MY NATURE! I REFUSE TO TONE MYSELF DOWN TO PLEASE SOMEONE ELSE!"
It was that day that I decided to leave my job and start working at Chick-fil-A.
Since then, I have found an atmosphere that not only accepts my exuberant personality, but applauds it.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is why I write.
I write because I refused to change who I was in order to please someone else. I simply found a place that accepts me for me.
I have never been happier.
All in all, I write because everyone deserves to be appreciated in their workplace.
"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." -Confucius
Me with the Chick-fil-A cow... WORK CAN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!
Oh sweet summertime. The time to put the books aside and enjoy the warm weather, go to the beach and of course… work. And for some of us (like myself), work A LOT.
This summer, there’s a choice you can make.
a. Work somewhere just for the money and spend the majority of your summer in a dull, non-motivated atmosphere.
b. Work somewhere that will grow you as a person. Somewhere that will not only allow growth but encourage it. Leaders who will recognize your excellence and take your skills to new heights.
a. Sleep in until noon only to wake up and find that half your day has already been wasted
b. Wake up with a purpose, a goal in mind. Surrounding yourself with hard-working people and realizing how your life is changing for the better.
The choice is yours, spend your summer in the hum-drum of everyday work life or take your skills to a new level in a challenging, fun and positive atmosphere!
The ladder of success.
Something many attempt to climb, but so few reach the top.
You see, like any other fast food place, the vast majority of Chick-fil-A employees start off as “Team Members” (basically cashiers).
However, unlike most fast food restaurants, Chick-fil-A opens up endless doors for those who are willing to walk through them.
Take Tyrell, for example.
Tyrell joined our team just over a year ago. Starting off as a cashier, I remember watching him on his first day.
We all saw something special.
You see, there’s two types of people in the world, those who fear the unknown, and those who embrace it.
I remember watching Tyrell make an ice cream for the first time. The swirls were uneven, the cone was messed up, and he was using the wrong kind of ice cream.
But that did not matter.
What mattered was that he tried.
Tyrell saw what needed to be done, and he had the courage to try and do it.
That spoke volumes.
Over the past year, Tyrell has been promoted three times. The sweet and shy young man, now running busy lunchtime shifts all on his own.
Like a true leader, Tyrell does not demand or expect perfection from his team members.
Instead, Tyrell leads by example.
Day in and day out, showing all of us that the only way to reach the top of the ladder, is to embrace the climb.
Sharing A Smile
My grandma once told me it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. My grandma also told me that dark chocolate is the reason she’s still alive… as you can probably tell, she gives pretty great advice.
Aside from what my grandma has taught me, judging by my own experiences throughout the past 19 years of my life, I’ve learned that sharing a smile can get you far in life.
Smiling for no reason can get you even further.
I know, it sounds crazy… But trust me on this one.
So, why are we told to smile so much at Chick-fil-A?
Sure… it looks nice and welcoming, that goes without saying. But who do we really smile for?
We smile for the 6 year old boy who’s been waiting all day for his ice cream.
We smile for the non-english speaking folks who have travelled thousands of miles just to try our chicken sandwich.
We smile for the man who comes to Chick-fil-A every morning, and orders the same two side salads with balsamic dressing.
We smile for the War veteran, who can barely walk, but still manages to come and get his small chicken soup.
We smile for the mall employees, who take time out of their busy work days just to have a moment of peace and relaxation while they eat.
We smile for you. Our loyal and valued guests.
We smile because it feels good, and because serving all of you feels even better.
Over the years, I’ve received a good amount of advice. Some more useful than others, I’ve decided to share with you the best four pieces of advice I’ve ever received.
1. “Knowledge is power, when you know better, you do better.”
When was the last time you read a book? And by read a book, I don't mean skimming through the pages to find a quote you like, I mean really read. The kind of reading that changes you. The kind of book that speaks to you with every page flip. The kind of title that captures your mind and content that speaks to your soul. You see, knowledge is so important. So do yourself a favor and read a book.
2. “You cannot control the external world, but you can control your reaction to it.”
As much as we’d like to hope for a day filled with friendly, complaint-free customer encounters, it simply isn't realistic. Serving hundreds of hungry people every day, this is a concept I (and other Chick-fil-A employees) learned rather quickly. You cannot control the outside world. Guests are going to come and order food from you whether they've had the best day or the worst day (because no time is a bad time for a chicken sandwich). But controlling how you react to your guests needs is completely up to you. This is the beauty of my job. I get to turn a sad, emotional 6 year old into an enthused, excited little girl with an ice cream in her hand. This is why we do what we do.
3. “Begin each day with a grateful heart.”
This one is huge… There always seems to be such a negative connotation with the word “work.” But if you truly sit back and realize what “work” actually is, you begin to see that it is actually your biggest blessing. Starting with nothing, you walk into this place. In this place, you not only meet incredible people, you learn so many things. You serve the community, you impact lives. And on top of all that, you’re getting PAID?!?! Just sit back and look at your blessings. If you cannot see them, go and find them.
4. “Happiness is a choice, everything else is a matter of perspective.”
What if I told you that your life could be radically transformed if you simply started thinking differently? It’s true! Smile more. Find little things that make you happy and let them change your life. Practice gratitude. Be grateful for your job, your friends, your food, the clothes on your back. So many would give anything to have what you have. Be compassionate and love others. Make an effort to do at least 5 kind things each day. I promise it will change your life.
The Art of Kindness
“You guys are so nice!” Something we get a lot at Chick-fil-A.
The more and more I hear people rave about the way we treat them, I realize how the basic act of kindness is lacking in today’s society.
Sharing a smile. Asking about someone’s day. Such simple acts that have become so few and far between.
So… how do we change this?
Well, it starts with a small group of people (i.e the group of people who run a successful business.)
Then take that small group of people, and set the bar high for them. Accept only the best and brightest to represent you.
Finally, let their brightness radiate among others (our guests).
Treat each and every guest with dignity, respect, and warmth.
By doing this, even having a small part in this, you are monumentally changing the community, the people you meet, the people you serve.
Whatever your impact on society may be, I sure am proud of ours.
Protect Your Enthusiasm!
In a society full of peer pressure, negativity, and conflicts, staying positive and true to your beliefs can be a real challenge. One concept in particular has been crucial for my own well-being…
Protecting my enthusiasm.
This is key to remaining true to myself.
It starts with choosing life. Waking up in the morning and embracing the day. Going to work and building connections with the guests.
Feel as if the person you’re serving has had a bad day? Be extra kind to them. Show a warm smile, remind them of what joy looks like.
The Chick-fil-A culture is making each and every guest’s day brighter. Whether they’re having a great day, or in need of some encouragement, our culture is not about serving food. Our culture is about serving joy, enthusiasm, and a warm smile to each and every guest we encounter.
This is why we do what we do.
Driving Your Bus
Ownership. What many don't realize is that you choose your destiny.
You choose to wake up early and start your day two hours before anyone else.
You choose to drink 8 glasses of water every day to keep yourself hydrated.
You choose to be kind.
But most of all, you choose to drive your own bus.
When I say “drive your bus” I don't mean signing up to work for Palm Tran… I mean to take ownership. To be the driver of YOUR life.
Metaphorically speaking, Chick-fil-A is like a bus. Although it is not my only bus, it is a bus I am proud to be on.
A bus filled with skillful and hard-working leaders.
Although the bus passengers may come and go, the ride remains the same.
Always facing forward, and never looking back.
What Inspires You?
As I sit and sip my coffee, a variety of things come to mind. I think of my schoolwork, everything I have due next week. I think about my family, my grandmas birthday today, my sister’s soccer tournament next weekend. I think about my job. I think about my goals. What I want to do with my life.
I’ve always wanted to make an impact. Do something that, to some extent, will change the world. It’s something I think about (and casually obsess over) all too often.
I like to dream. Something founder of Chick-fil-A Truett Cathy and I have in common, I like to dream big.
I see all he has done with a little chicken restaurant in the suburbs of Atlanta. What was once, 72 years ago, known as the Dwarf Grill.
Something as simple as a chicken filet with two pickles on a toasted butter bun. Now the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States (according to chick-fil-a.com).
If one man can change the world using a simple chicken sandwich recipe, just imagine what you can do.
Working a busy shift, I see so much more than a long line of hungry people.
I see an empire. I see a man who changed the face of fast food. A company that sets their standards higher than any other company of their tier.
I see dreamers, hard workers.
Above all else, however, I see the potential to change the world… right before my very eyes.
I see something I am proud of.
A chicken filet, two pickles and a toasted butter bun. The recipe for success.
Trial and Error
Ten blogs later and I finally decide to talk about myself.
Thats right… MY journey.
For years, my grandma begged. (And I mean begged) me to get a job at Chick-fil-A.
I always had the Chick-fil-A personality. You could say I was just born with it.
Although I had this from the start of my Chick-fil-A career, there is truly so much more to a good worker than just personality.
Work ethic. Something I surely had to develop.
The ability to work a non-stop 6 hour shift at a busy restaurant? Not easy. I learned this quickly.
I messed up. I got orders wrong, I forgot what to say, I was flustered.
While I could have easily avoided the difficulties of my new job by quitting, I stayed.
I stayed and I grew. I became stronger, I became better.
I dug deep and found that inner strength I never knew I had.
I was alway comfortable letting my outgoing personality do the work for me. But I realized that growing and strengthening the weaker parts of myself is what truly builds character.
Step out of your comfort zone. You never know the places you could go.
About the Author
Caroline Burt is a communications major at Palm Beach State college. She has been working for Chick-fil-A in Palm Beach Gardens for 1 year. When she's not working or studying, she enjoys traveling, photography, and eating good food! Caroline's passion for writing combined with her enthusiasm for Chick-fil-A inspires her to write this blog!