I used to love going to the Mall of Abilene when I was growing up for one reason – the free sample Chick-fil-a nuggets.   I used to hope we entered through the entrance that was close to Chick-fil-a just so I could get to those savory free nuggets ASAP

I didn’t have any money of my own back then so I couldn’t buy any of the nuggets, but I faithfully got my free nugget (or two if I was lucky.)  Every time I went, the person handing out the nuggets was always smiling (Chick-fil-a is a model for customer service, but that’s a different story) so I never felt bad for taking the nuggets even though I had no ability to buy them at the time.

But something happened.  I grew up, started making some money and guess what… I started buying the nuggets.  I don’t know where Chick-fil-a advertises now, I don’t watch TV and I rarely see their ads (I know they have the cows and the eat more Chikin) campaign, but they don’t need to market to me, I’m already hooked.

I’m hooked and it has nothing to do with a campaign, a slogan, or “the latest and greatest” anything, I’m hooked on those nuggets because Chick-fil-a did three things extremely well.  These three characteristics are principles I’ve tried to implement in my various business ventures, why? Because they bring results.


Give because you can.  For free.  Don’t give with an expectation of a return, do it because you’re a good person and you can.  We all have something to give.  Maybe it’s money, maybe it’s time, maybe it’s advice or a recommendation, but we are all rich in some resource – give that resource to the world.  Never once did the chicken nugget lady ever try and force me to go buy anything, she simply gave me the nuggets because Chick-fil-a wanted people to enjoy their nuggets.

No Upsell, no conditions, no strings attached – give because it’s the right thing to do.  Don’t just give, be sure you’re giving value.  It’s easy to give away what you don’t value, but if you don’t value it, why should your audience, client, customer, or whomever else value it either?  Whatever you’re best at, whatever has the most worth to you, be sure you’re giving that away.

Here’s the secret, it will ALWAYS come back to you.  When it comes back, it comes back in direct relation to what you gave. Why wouldn’t you give your best?


Chick-fil-a isn’t a low-cost leader by any stretch of the imagination.  They don’t try to be, but better yet, they don’t have to be.  The reason is – the provide QUALITY products.  I’ve learned a long time ago, it’s not about the price, it’s about what you give in relation to the price, aka it’s about VALUE. Not just quality, but consistent quality.  I’ve never had a bad sandwich or meal at Chick-fil-a, I’ve never met a rude employee there, they consistently provide great service and great food.

When you’re consistent and you bring real value, you’ll always be in demand.


I don’t know what kind of training they do at Chick-fil-a, but I’m sure they send their employees to smiling school because they’re always smiling.  Though it’s been over 20 years since I first started getting those free nuggets, I still remember the smiles of the employees who lowered the nugget tray they were holding and smiled while I picked the biggest nugget (hey even when it’s free I want to get my money’s worth, haha).  Smiles are contagious.  Go into a Chick-fil-a and see how many of their workers are smiling and answering every request with “my pleasure,” (and mean it.)  It makes you feel good.  It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood or feel bad at a Chick-fil-a.

This morning as I was thinking about all this, I decided to just give away a few extra big smiles to random strangers – at the carwash, at the grocery store, at the gym.  You know what? People smiled back.  People start conversations.  I learned about a lady’s recent trip and what her grandkids were doing, another guy told me about how nervous he was because his first baby was about to be born, and another guy told me about the latest running shoes from Asics and where some good running trails are in Dallas that I had not yet run on.

You never know what opportunities can arise from good conversation. In a world of networking, “beating the bushes,” hustling and all of that to get clients, customers, or friends, nothing will ever beat a good old fashioned friendly smile.

Give Value, Provide Quality, and always Smile.  Three simple little concepts turned a boy from a free nugget eater to a lifelong customer.  Those same principles will work wonders in your life as well.

Hmm, all this writing about those nuggets has made me hungry.  Guess where I’m going…

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