Does Chick-fil-A Really Lose $1 Billion a Year in Sales by Closing on Sunday?

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

The headline in Business Insider was, “Chick-fil-A Loses Out on More than $1 Billion in Sales Every Year by Closing on Sunday.”

According to Wall Street sources, the chicken chain earned $10.46 billion in American system-wide sales in 2018, despite being closed every Sunday.

Missing out on 14% of possible open business days likely cost the chain more than $1 billion. Although McDonald’s does not disclose traffic by day, there is evidence that the weekends are particularly busy. This means that it may post 15% of its sales on Sunday.

If Chick-fil-A has a similar traffic pattern, Sundays could bring in sales of at least $1.2 billion.

Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy is a devout Christian who does not believe in working on Sunday.

“Closing our business on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is our way of honoring God and showing our loyalty to Him,” Cathy said.

He continued, “My brother Ben and I closed our first restaurant on the first Sunday after we opened in 1946, and my children have committed to closing our restaurants on Sundays long after I’m gone. I believe God honors our decision and sets before us unexpected opportunities to do greater work for Him because of our loyalty.”

But wait! The restaurant chain may actually benefit from the unique policy.

John Hamburger, the president of Franchise Times (yes, that’s his real name), concluded that the company’s policy encourages higher sales during the week.

“Being open six days a week provides benefits to both the operators and the customers,” Hamburger said. “The owner-operator gets the time off. Being closed on Sunday conveys a sense of caring and community to the customers. Being private means they can do the right thing, not the expedient Wall Street way of doing things.”

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Additionally, for customers, the knowledge that they can’t get Chick-fil-A on Sundays helps drive them to visit the chain when it is open.

God works in mysterious ways. The success of Chick-fil-A, despite staying closed on Sundays, could be one of them.

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