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Fast Food Culture Wars

Updated: May 16

"Goliath" McDonalds vs. "David" Chick-fil-A mirror the GOP Civil War

Quick. Which fast food outfit makes more money per store? If you guessed McDonalds — you'd be wrong.

Yes, overall, McDonalds makes more money as a corporation, owing largely to its "we were first" market positioning. The Golden Arches behemoth rakes in approximately 40 billion dollars a year in net sales and generates roughly 2.7 million dollars per each of its 13,000 restaurants in the United States.

Additionally — McDonalds' net worth (according to Forbes) as of 2021 is $164 billion.

On the flip side (pun intended), Chick-fil-A generates about $12 billion in annual net sales and produces $4.7 million per year in each of its 2,600 restaurants (65% more per restaurant compared to McDonalds) — clearly punching above its weight class.

Chick-fil-A has a net worth (according to Forbes) as of 2021 of $11 billion.

In the fast-food world — McDonalds is the Establishment (the Swamp) and Chick-fil-A is the up-and-comer (MAGA). In fact, it's largely what are considered "conservative values" which have powered Chick-fil-A to its "King David with the slingshot" view by many of its customers.

McDonalds, for example, is so large, and the market so saturated by them, that there is actually little room for growth and expansion. It's not like Ronald McDonald can simply go out and franchise out 13,000 more store locations.

McDonalds started as a single restaurant in 1940, and began franchise operations in 1955, steamrolling its way to and maintaining lead position for nearly 70 years.

So the original fast-food assembly line business, somewhat of a victim of its own success, has to think doubly hard and concentrate on the "margins" to avoid being stagnant.

For example, kiosk purchasing — eliminating minimum wage earners — is one method being deployed to bump profits. Once you become so dominant, there's little new territory left to conquer and very few new ideas. Customers know you and have made up their minds about you.

On the other hand — Chick-fil-A still has plenty of growth opportunity with only 2,600 establishments. Largely centered in the South, the franchise operation, begun in 1967 in an Atlanta shopping mall, is positioning itself to significantly challenge those golden arches across the street.

One major difference between the two enterprises is their corporate self-identity. McDonalds correctly sees itself as the king of the fast-food world— from high atop its perch, nothing can topple it.
Across the street — Chick-fil-A sees itself as "the little engine that could," as long as it never forgets its biblical foundations and principles. And yes — you read that correctly — biblical!

According to media reports — beginning in 1982, the company has been guided by a specific purpose: "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."

This message of self-understanding is posted in every restaurant location to remind employees and customers about what values are guiding the company.

Every Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, heavily stresses employee manners and courtesy ("My pleasure" is THE response you hear from across the counter), cleanliness and above all — quality; a quality that costs more than McDonalds, but according to various restaurant industry polls and surveys, surpasses the Golden Arches in every category except price/affordability (freshness, taste and nutrition all rate much higher at Chick-fil-A.)

The similarities — even down to the "customer" base between Establishment GOP and MAGA enthusiasts — are undeniable. When is the last time, ever, nearly 100,000 supporters turned out at a campaign rally for Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell? It's a safe bet that if there was a nearby Chick-fil-A in Wildwood NJ, it would have been swamped by Trump rally goers on the way home.

MAGA supporters understand the "brand quality" of America has fallen and become stagnant — even within the GOP (and, especially among Communist Democrats, who are actually seeking to destroy America.) Also, just like the name "Chick-fil-A" is a play on words (it actually means Chicken Fillet — A-level quality), it is the quality of American life that MAGA is most focused on, believing that if you just keep at it — eventually, the best man wins.

There is a titanic struggle right now within the GOP between "Chicken" and "Beef" — as the "Beef crowd" pushes the notion that you should "eat more chicken" (the brilliant 1995 marketing effort by Chick-fil-A featuring cows telling consumers to not eat them, but devour chickens instead.)

Where the comparison stops, however, is that McDonalds is not nested within Chick-fil-A trying to undermine it — as the GOP Establishment is in Republican circles, trying to undercut Trump/MAGA.

Much has been made of how little has been done — with a number of solid exceptions — within GOP leadership to prevent another steal, to square off against election interference and rigging by Democrats, and the near total lack of enthusiasm for candidate Trump beyond lip service from GOP leaders.

If it weren't for fear of being completely exposed as an anti-MAGA/pro-Establishment Republican, there wouldn't even be the lip service.

The GOP culture wars matter because whoever the winner is will have to contend with the Communists over on the other side of the aisle in the coming years — and if conservatives think the GOP Establishment has the vim or vigor to wage that war, they'll have their (fast-food) lunches handed to them.

Gary Michael Voris holds a graduate degree, Cum Laude, from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Voris earned multiple awards for 40+ years of news media experience for writing, producing, and investigative work from the Associated Press, Detroit Press Club, Michigan Broadcasters Association, as well as four news Emmys in multiple categories. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1983 with an undergraduate major in Communications and a minor in History.

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