Chick-fil-A’s 4-day weekend experiment may soon revolutionize America’s work week

Chick-fil-A not only revolutionized the chicken sandwich, but the quick service industry itself as the company has been ranked for the eighth straight year as America’s favorite restaurant, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

And the popular chicken chain may soon revolutionize labor itself, with a Chick-fil-A in Miami, Florida, experimenting with a work schedule that gives employees four days off, according to QSR Magazine.

Operator Justin Lindsey told QSR Magazine recently he has been utilizing the schedule since February at his location — his Miami store earned Chick-fil-A’s overall sales and profit honor four out of five years running, according to the industry magazine.

But Lindsey knew his employees and managers were working themselves ragged and even sacrificing vacations and said they would joke about being exhausted and needing to go home and collapse.

“I realized, I’m asking a ton of these folks. They’re literally working 70 hours a week, week in and week out,” he said, adding, “Honestly, I can do better.”

And “better” involves two “pods” of employees who would essentially condense their week-long schedules into three-day blocks of 13 or 14-hour shifts, with 18 store leaders and approximately 20 front-line workers agreeing to participate in the three-day block schedule that gives them four days off while still achieving fulltime hours. There’s also a 7-day stretch each month where somebody gets off.

Lindsey told QSR that he has enjoyed 100 percent retention at the management level since February. He also said that his restaurant collected more than 420 applicants during a recent job listing that featured the three-day workweek.

What’s more, he said he has seen improvements in the restaurant’s service, efficiency and consistency since starting the new scheduling model, the magazine reported.

“I’m truly, from the bottom of my heart, I’m doing this because I think it’s the right thing to do for you and for your families and for your school and for whatever that might be,” he told his staff. “That is the reason behind doing this. Because, honestly, it would probably be a whole lot easier to just do things the way we’ve always done them.”

A lot of planning was done ahead of time to ensure the approach would be feasible.

“We were having the tough conversations on the front end so that way everybody was super crystal clear as to the reasons behind this program and why we think it’s going to be the future for our business,” he said. “And what we found was people seemed to appreciate that.”

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