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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Chick-Fil-A Solution

I was clocked out and heading back to work around 1:00 PM, Monday, the 17th of September, 2012. I'd just finished being thoroughly unnerved and unmanned by my urologist, who'd attempted to remove a stent with no anesthetic. [Free tip to the whole world...never...never...never accept the phrase: 'we'll just run a scope up there and pull it out here in the office,' to pass without beginning a long discussion on what kind of pain this will entail. For me on the 1-to-10 scale it's a ten. Hey doc, go ahead and smash it with a hammer; that might hurt less.] Nevertheless, as I said, I was clocked out and so I decided to have some Chick-Fil-A, perhaps as comfort food to help me forget the unforgettable.

I couldn't even get into the parking lot. Notice that lunch hour for most people is long over by 1:00 PM, yet still on a Monday—nothing particularly special about this day—they were so crowded with customers there was no way to even pull into their parking area from off of the street. I ended up settling for Sonic. My day just kept getting better and better.

Chick-Fil-A has a problem, and they'd better get a handle on it. Even great food and an admirable political ideology won't save them from permanent loss of business when demand greatly exceeds ability to provide the supply. When I think about what I'll have for lunch, I never think Chick-Fil-A, because I know how long it takes to finally get my order. Like most everyone else in America—with a job—I don't get that much time for lunch and if I don't have time to sit down and eat it, even the best food in the world is not that good.

Chick-Fil-A—perhaps because of Dan Cathy's recent defense of traditional marriage comments—is unable to adequately provide food to all its available customers within the two-hour window known as the "lunch rush." Parking lots are too full, drive-thru-lines are too long, and lunch-½-hours are too short.

The solution is simplicity itself. Remember that demand exceeds supply...or in this case ability to provide supply. Whenever this is the case an opportunity is there for an enterprising entrepreneur to make bank. The price for a regular Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich is $2.75. Sales tax is 9.25% Total cost is exactly $3.00. (The Deluxe is $3.75 with sales tax it's $4.10) Your local prices and sales tax may vary, but it's probably going to be at or near the three dollar mark.

If I managed a Chick-Fil-A, I would have an employee stationed at the corner of the lot—as far past the parking-lot turn in as possible. The employee would have a warming cart stocked with two sandwich options, plain and Deluxe. The cart would have a prominent sign reading "cash only." I'd keep the plain sandwich at $2.75 because with tax it comes to a nice even $3.00, but I'd reduce the price of the Deluxe to $3.66 because with tax that's exactly $4.00.

The name of the game here is speed. Many customers would be very pleased to forego Waffle-Fries, soda, nuggets, as well as assorted other miscellaneous menu options for the incredible convenience of purchasing sandwiches with practically no waiting at all. Remember, this potential customer has already passed the turn-in. This warming cart represents the absolute last chance to make a sale. Cash only and no coins.

Not sure of the legality, but an unemployed go-getter could buy something like the item pictured below and "scalp" enough Chick-Fil-A sandwiches to pay the rent. It beats holding up a "will work for food" sign.

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