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Eat More Chicken? You don’t have to ask me twice.

Posted At: September 16, 2013 2:30 p.m.
by Sarah de Jong

Chick-fil-A: To some people, the nine-letter, hyphenated name of the fast-food chicken empire immediately makes them salivate. To others, it brings up unpleasant memories of the company’s past public relations blunders and overly fried food.

Whether you are a Chick-fil-A lover or not, you have to give the company some credit. During summer 2012, the restaurant giant went under fire for standing behind its owner’s beliefs on same-sex marriage. A public relations storm erupted and the Christian–based company immediately went on the defense. But boycotts, stand-ins and protests couldn’t hurt the fast-food chain. Now, a little more than a year later, not many people remember Chick-fil-A’s media storm that summer without first being reminded of the scandal. Why, you ask? Chick-fil-A has an awesome public relations team and cares about its customers’ health.

I will admit, I am slightly biased because I am an avid Chick-fil-A eater. I could eat a chicken biscuit for breakfast, a chicken sandwich for lunch and an 8-count nugget entree for dinner. (Don’t even get me started on the sweet tea. Pure heaven in a Styrofoam cup.) But, other than succeeding at making my mouth water, the Atlanta-based chain sure knows how to succeed at running a healthy campaign.

Less than a year after the scandal, Chick-fil-A announced a new public relations campaign to upgrade its menu. This initiative put the company back on the radar for doing something good for society: keeping them (relatively) healthy.

A major problem that fast-food chains face is the health kick in our society. People are running to their local gym to establish a membership, taking every vitamin known to man and trying to eat healthy. It seems like this would be a large problem for a fast-food giant that only serves chicken, fried chicken at that. But, Chick-fil-A has found a way to get around the problem.

Chick-fil-A recently started displaying the calorie counter on its menu boards nationwide. The counter shows the range of calories the customer will consume based on the chosen size and side item. The company website also features a “meal calculator” to customize calorie intake based on personalized selections.

This isn’t the first time the chain has updated its menu to become more health-conscious. In 2004, fruit cups were added as a side item, and, in 2008, entrees were updated to ensure that there were zero trans fats in the food. Last year, the company revamped its kids meals, adding healthier options like grilled chicken nuggets. This new campaign, however, seems like it will have a bigger impact on customers.

In April, Chick-fil-A launched three new premium salads, a side salad, exclusive salad dressings and a healthier wrap (all under 430 calories). The website now features a “We heard you” section, explaining the reason for the addition of healthier entrees. According to Chick-fil-A, 38 percent of customers are more likely to visit restaurants with healthy menu options, and 64 percent of customers think it is important to eat healthy.

I have tried some of the new menu items, and the grilled chicken nuggets and chicken wrap have my seal of approval. Sometimes, all you need is a good campaign to help people forget your prior public relations scandals, and Chick-fil-A did just that. All this chicken talk made me realize I am out of my Chick-fil-A sweet tea. It’s about time for a refill.

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