Why a Closed-on-Sunday Policy is Good Business

by Brad Harmon on July 13, 2010 in Entrepreneurs

Why a Closed-On-Sunday Policy is Good Business | marketplace christianity

I can’t tell you how many times when we are deciding what to eat after church on Sunday that a chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A pops into my head.  More often than not, I actually verbalize this craving only to hear my wife tell me, “You know they’re closed on Sundays.”  Drats!

Chick-Fil-A takes great measures to make their Closed-On-Sunday policy as much a part of their branding efforts as the chicken sandwich itself.  It’s a policy that their founder Truett Cathy adopted when he opened his first restaurant, and they have continued it for nearly 65 years despite Sunday being one of the best days for business in food service.

As a Christian, I certainly applaud the policy; however, I wonder sometimes if, as an entrepreneur, it’s good business.

God Honors Those Who Honor Him

Starting with the most obvious benefit, as Christian entrepreneurs our primary focus is on honoring God and our secondary focus is on making money.  This philosophy is completely foreign to most entrepreneurs who only focus on the bottom line; however, our bottom line is ultimately in heaven.

When Chick-Fil-A sat down to write their Corporate Purpose, this is what they drafted.

To glorify God by being a faithful steward to all that is entrusted to us.
To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.

When you drive by a closed Chick-Fil-A store on Sunday, you can’t help but think that this is a company which truly believes their Corporate Purpose.

By the way, Chick-Fil-A has reported record sales every single year without exception despite being closed on Sunday.

It Shows How You Feel Towards Your Employees

In an industry where employees often do not know when they will be working until the shift schedule is posted each week, it’s nice to know that you have a guaranteed day off.

Cathy believes that by giving his employees Sunday off as a day

  • to spend with their family,
  • to worship and renew their spirit,
  • to fellowship with their friends,
  • and to rest and recharge their batteries,

the company has a workforce that is better equipped and rested to serve quality products with a great attitude the other 6 days of the week.

His employees love working there so much that the company enjoys a turn-over rate in the low single digits.  That is an incredible feat by any company, but it’s unheard of in the food service industry.  Imagine all of the costs he saves with such low turn-over.

It Attracts the Right Kind of People

Of course, to enjoy these cost savings from low turn-over you have to attract the right people.  The Closed-On-Sunday policy and the Corporate Purpose of Chick-Fil-A sends two important messages according to Mr. Cathy.

One, that there must be something special about the way Chick-Fil-A people view their spiritual life; and, two, that there must be something special about how Chick-Fil-A feels about its people.

Because of this, Chick-Fil-A is able to attract people who “want to be associated with an organization with a values-based vision, is purpose-driven and truly values a balance between work and family.”

It’s the Best Business Decision I’ve Ever Made

Truett Cathy understands what all great entrepreneurs have discovered.  Your business is only as good as your people.

When you understand this, it’s easy to see why he calls it “the best business decision I ever made.”  Looking at the results it’s hard to disagree.

Do you own or work for a company that closes it’s doors on Sundays when your competitors do not?  What has your experience been?

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