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As I sat in a 20-car drive-thru line with my coworker last week, I had a stunning realization: I don’t like Chick-fil-A anymore.
As a child of the south, Chick-fil-A has always been a staple in my fast-food portfolio. Breakfast minis before the first bell in high school, an 8-count after football practice, two original sandwiches on Saturday before college football kicked off — I was as brand loyal as they come. I’d eat anything Chick-fil-A put on my tray.
After I made it to college, my love for Chick-fil-A started slowly wearing off. I stopped trekking over to the Chick-fil-A drive-thru and started settling for the on-campus Chick-fil-A. That was a huge mistake. Suddenly, soggy chicken and cold fries were the norm. The menu was limited, so I could only get lukewarm nugs or a sandwich. When I’d thank the cashier for placing my order, she’d look me in the eye and say: “You’re welcome.”
On-campus Chick-fil-As, or Chick-fil-A Expresses, aren’t usually run by the restaurant, but by the big catering companies who’ve been contracted to run point on all campus dining. These companies don’t give a shit about the quality of my Chick-fil-A sandwich. They don’t care that they hired a group of unfriendly losers to serve it to me. They don’t care that the quality of the chicken was so diminished that outside of the packaging, it didn’t even look like Chick-fil-A anymore. Coupons? Sorry, those don’t work here. All they wanted was for students to use their campus dollars instead of meal swipes, so they smacked a “Chick-fil-A Express” sign atop this garbage dump of a restaurant and tried to brand it like a normal one.
Regular Chick-fil-As are still good, but they aren’t as incredible as everyone pretends them to be. Chick-fil-A is one of those brands that everyone loves to love, because it’s cool to love them. Whataburger, In-and-Out, Shake Shack, Chipotle, etc., all fall under the same category of “food brands that could serve you literal trash but you’d still say you love them because everyone else does.” That’s not saying CFA is bad, but to hear the stories about all these people who drive “miles and miles” to get a CFA sandwich is just ridiculous. If the line is going to take more than eight minutes, there is usually a better food option close by.
Maybe it’s because the Chick-fil-A Express ruined my love of the brand, but I don’t crave Chick-fil-A anymore. I’ll just never get that bad taste out of my mouth. It makes me sad, because I know deep in my heart I want that feeling of loving Chick-fil-A again. But I’ve been disappointed by the CFA Express too many times now to bother going back. I’ve traveled around the world, so this change in heart could be because my palate has expanded so vastly in three years that I’ve just grown out of my Chick-fil-A phase.
The food at Chick-fil-A is fine. It’s simple food for simple people. Let’s all stop pretending that we would take a bullet for the local CFA restaurant manager if we had to. Chick-fil-A isn’t light years ahead of Zaxby’s, Bojangles, Popeye’s and the rest of the fast-food chicken crew. It is what it is: a fast food restaurant. It’s a good quick option if there isn’t a line.
Chick-fil-A sauce is still dope, though..
Image via YouTube