Will Chick Fil a Be Open on Sundays?

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Chick-fil-A’s closure on Sundays is one of the most distinctive characteristics of this fast food restaurant chain. Founded by S. Truett Cathy in 1946, Chick-fil-A has upheld its tradition of remaining closed on Sundays for over 70 years.

But will this always be the case? Are there any signs this policy may change in the future? Let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind Chick-fil-A’s Sunday closure and whether we can expect to see it open for business as usual on the Lord’s day anytime soon.

Why Is Chick-fil-A Closed on Sundays?

Chick-fil-A’s Sunday closure can be traced back to the religious beliefs of its founder. S. Truett Cathy was a devout Christian who kept biblical Sabbath and believed Sunday should be a day off for rest and worship.

As stated on the company’s website:

Our founder, Truett Cathy, made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. He has often shared that his decision was as much practical as spiritual. He believes that all franchised Chick-fil-A Operators and their Restaurant employees should have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so. That’s why all Chick-fil-A Restaurants are closed on Sundays. It’s part of our recipe for success.

So keeping the restaurants closed on Sundays was implemented first and foremost to give employees a designated day of rest and opportunity for worship according to their own faith.

But it also made practical business sense – Cathy realized that closing on Sundays could be a way to differentiate the brand in the market and communicate that Chick-fil-A values people over profit. This principle still guides the chain today.

A Longstanding Tradition

Closing all restaurants on Sundays has been part of Chick-fil-A’s business model from the very beginning. When Cathy opened his inaugural Dwarf Grill (which would later become Chick-fil-A) in 1946, he only operated 6 days a week and this practice has continued as the chain has grown.

Sunday closure was not a reactionary business decision. For Cathy, keeping the Sabbath day holy was an unwavering part of his Christian convictions that he upheld from day one.

Chick-fil-A states that Sunday closure “…was not done as a marketing ploy. Truett saw that by closing on Sunday he could give employees a day off to attend church and spend time with their families. It was a win-win situation.”

This value is now baked into the company culture. Chick-fil-A proudly advertises its Sunday closure as proof they put principles before profits. The tradition has come to represent part of their brand identity.

A Sign of Commitment to Values

Despite missing out on sales, Chick-fil-A upholds its Sunday closure as emblematic of their broader commitment to faith-based values in how they run their business.

Their corporate purpose statement affirms they aim to “glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”

Keeping restaurants closed on Sundays – even with the lost revenue opportunities – demonstrates that faith principles come before financial gain. It is a highly visible expression of their corporate purpose.

For over 70 years, Chick-fil-A has proven unwavering commitment to their spiritual values by continuing Sunday closure across all locations. This consistency indicates it is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Has Chick-fil-A Ever Opened on a Sunday?

While Sunday closure has been the norm since 1946, there have been a handful of extenuating circumstances where Chick-fil-A has operated on a Sunday over the years.

In Response to Crisis Situations

During crisis events, Chick-fil-A has made rare exceptions to open on Sunday in order to serve their community.

For example, following Hurricane Florence in 2018, some Chick-fil-A locations in the affected areas of North and South Carolina opened on Sunday to prepare food for first responders and evacuees.

They also opened on a Sunday in 2016 to feed stranded passengers during an Atlanta airport power outage.

These emergency situations prompted Chick-fil-A to put service to the community above their normal closing policy. However, it has only happened on a very limited, as-needed basis.

As Part of a New Initiative

In 2019, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan T. Cathy announced the company would begin experimenting with opening some locations on Sundays.

He indicated this was part of an initiative to grow market share and better compete against other chains that are open Sundays, such as Starbucks.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson stated that the new Sunday hours would only apply to a small number of restaurants in select markets:

To compete against other national brands, some Chick-fil-A restaurants have expanded our hours to be open on Sundays in limited markets. We use these opportunities to grow team members’ leadership skills and provide additional opportunities for people to enjoy meals with family and friends.

However, most reports suggest the initiative is still quite limited in scope – it has not led to widespread Sunday openings across the country. Most Chick-fil-A locations remain closed Sundays.

So while they have tested relaxing the policy on a small scale, the changes do not seem substantial so far. The company has not provided recent updates on how many restaurants may offer Sunday service.

Will Chick-fil-A Be Open on Sundays Nationwide in the Future?

Looking ahead, is it likely that Chick-fil-A will eventually open all of its locations on Sundays on a regular basis? There are a few key factors that suggest widespread Sunday openings are unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Commitment to Founder’s Vision

Chick-fil-A leadership has reiterated many times that Truett Cathy’s original vision still guides them, and Sunday closure remains core to who they are.

In a 2016 interview, Cathy’s son and current Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said:

It’s such a subtle thing, I don’t even know if Truett [Cathy] would have pointed it out. But when you’re open six days a week, there’s a sense of urgency to capitalize on every single day of business. Closing on Sunday says we have a day of rest, a day of worship, we have time to be with our families.

The senior Cathy instilled Sunday values as central to the company. The current CEO does not seem eager to upend this long held tradition.

Employee Morale

Another factor potentially deterring nationwide Sunday hours is employee morale. Having Sundays off is a work-life balance benefit thatlikely boosts satisfaction among Chick-fil-A restaurant staff.

Opening all locations 7 days would take away this incentive that helps Chick-fil-A attract and retain quality employees. It could negatively impact company culture.

As one franchise operator put it, “I’m not so sure [workers] would be as loyal to us if we were open on Sundays.”

Brand Identity

Maintaining their distinctive Sunday closure has arguably become an advantage that sets Chick-fil-A apart. Customers associate it with the company’s values and principles.

Moving away from this could water down their brand identity. Consumers who admire Chick-fil-A’s convictions may view Sunday openings as a step away from that ethos.

So keeping Sundays sacred seems prudent from a brand consistency standpoint. As CEO Dan Cathy said, “It’s who we are. It’s what makes us distinct.”

Gradual, Limited Changes More Likely

Rather than systemwide Sunday hours, Chick-fil-A leadership has indicated they will take a nuanced approach to expanding availability:

We will continue to look for opportunities to serve communities in additional ways while maintaining the core values our customers have come to expect from us.

Sporadic openings in select markets enable more flexibility while not completely overhauling longstanding tradition. Small pilots rather than broad overnight policy changes.

This allows Chick-fil-A to balance competing priorities: generate more revenue but also preserve what makes the brand unique. Incremental tweaks to policy fit that balanced strategy.

For now, most signs point to Sunday closures remaining in place as the norm at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide. Complete reversal of this iconic tradition would be a dramatic departure from their heritage.

Gradual, modest expansions of Sunday hours in limited markets may continue. But we will likely still see the majority of locations closed in observance of Cathy’s original vision for decades to come.

The core Sunday principle remains sturdily woven into the fabric of Chick-fil-A’s identity. While flexibility can allow for local accommodations, the company culture seems inclined to uphold this trademark policy as a continuing reflection of their values.


In conclusion, Chick-fil-A’s customary Sunday closure represents an enduring piece of its brand identity decades after Truett Cathy instituted the practice in 1946. And while there have been isolated exceptions made over the years, the company culture and leadership remain committed to honoring Cathy’s original vision for Sabbath.

Major nationwide policy changes opening all restaurants every day seem unlikely, given Chick-fil-A’s focus on staying true to its founder’s values. At best, highly selective Sunday hours may continue expanding incrementally to aid market performance in certain areas. But the chain’s trademark Sunday closure appears poised to remain in place as a core expression of its faith-based principles for the foreseeable future.

So outside of an emergency situation, customers can expect their local Chick-fil-A to remain closed on Sundays as usual for now. This weekly day of rest and worship will likely continue defining the brand experience for years ahead. Chick-fil-A Sundays are here to stay.

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