Leadership Opportunity: What Would You Do?

Earlier this week, I went to my Chick-Fil-A on Fruitville Road. As I ordered at the drive-thru I presented a coupon for a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich that I got at a golf tournament from October 2016. The live drive-thru person outside told me, “Oh, I’m sorry sir, we can’t take that. Corporate changed our policy in January that we would no longer take paper coupons.” I said, “Could I speak with your manager?” She said, “Yes, she’s working at the window.” I pull up to the window and attempt to present my coupon as I pay for my order. The manager, who is working at the window says, “Oh, I’m sorry sir we can’t take that. Corporate changed our policy in January that we could no longer take paper coupons.” I said, “I know it’s old, it’s been in my golf bag for a few months. There’s no expiration date. It’s valid only at this store. Could you exchange this paper coupon for an electronic coupon?”  

If you were this store’s manager, what would you do?

I’m looking forward to your replies and I will tell you what happened in a follow up blog. Here’s a picture of my coupon:   Chick-Fil-A Coupon


  • Amy Carrington Reply

    The customer is always right! I would definitely exchange the paper coupon for an electronic copy coupon of the same value. Seems like a no-brainer!

  • Glenn Reply

    I would absolutely exchange the coupon for an electronic version. As a manager I have been placed in the position to make local decisions that benefit the company and further the mission, which, I assume, includes encouraging customer loyalty to the brand.

  • Gale Hankins Reply

    The manager should honor the coupon. I am sure there is some sort of “manager override” in their computer system to allow for situations such as a customer complaint, etc. to track sales and inventory levels. Honoring the coupon would create good will and the cost of a sandwich is not worth the bad publicity created by not honoring the coupon.

  • Brad Manuel Reply

    Simple. Customer service 101. Clearly you’ve driven to Chick-Fil-A to provide them your business. You’re not scamming them or fooling the system. You clearly like Chick-fil-A and plan on utilizing the coupon. Chick-fil-A is known for second to none service and I would support that theory. Unfortunately they have a manager at this store who’s not fully vested in the Chick-fil-A culture and values. In short, the manager should have thanked you for coming in and provided you the phone app or another’s vehicle to get your free sandwich. 3 minute process and gain a happy customer for life.

  • Chad Reply

    If I were the manager at said Chicken restaurant I would have taken the following stance. Your purchase would be comp’ed as the coupon is specific to the store and you clearly are a repeat customer. This day in age with electronics and social media, it is better to comp the food than get the negative pub. I would also confirm that you didn’t have any additional coupons that might need to be converted over to an electronic version. Happy people in the restaurant business is worth more than the single comp’ed sandwich in the long run. Profit margin will elevate that comp. in no time.

  • Randy Lisk Reply

    The manager should respond based on the Chick fil a’s 5 Core Values, the first of which is “Customers First.” I would interpret that to mean, the manager takes your voucher. How they square that with the corporate bean counters is up to them, but that would be invisible to you.

  • Scott Wolfinger Reply

    As a manager I would think that the best response would be to accept the coupon. Word of mouth is important and leaving a customer unhappy is poor business.

  • R.L. Bandy Reply

    I would give that golfer a free chicken sandwich and a thank you.

  • Brent Patmos Reply

    A situation in which policy trumps common sense. Blind responses based on policies are what erode cultures and create bureaucracies. Giving you the sandwich is a no brainer. Ryan Lisk bringing insight to the manager and her store team about the value of critical thinking and decision making….. priceless. The true cost of her decision was far greater than the sandwich she denied you.

  • Ryan Reply

    This comment was emailed directly to me…

    Wow! I would most likely honor the customer’s request and give him an electronic coupon. I think it’s just the right thing to do. Besides, it seems to me that happy customers bring in more customers, while unhappy customers chase other customers away.

  • Amie Reply

    I would either offer the customer an electronic coupon or simply comp the item. It’s not worth the time to have negative back and forth with the customer (especially during a peak time), the impact on the potential audience watching/hearing it go down (other customers) or alienating the customer.

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