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How Chick-fil-A Spent $50 Million to Change Its Grilled Chicken

Courtesy Chick-fil-A
Chick-fil-A wants a healthier image to go along with its emblematic fried-chicken sandwiches. To that end, next week the country’s largest chicken chain by sales will replace its old chargrilled menu options with a new recipe used for three new items: a grilled chicken sandwich, a grilled chicken club with bacon, and grilled chicken tenders. The new grilled recipe also replaces the chicken in its salads and wraps.

It’s a small gamble for the company: The chargrilled sandwich accounted for 7 percent of Chick-fil-A’s sales in 2013. “I never thought of it as being craveable,” says David Farmer, vice president of product strategy and development. People ate it because they should, he theorizes, not because they looked forward to it. As consumers become more health conscious, Farmer says, having an enticing grilled option is necessary: “Taste is king, but it increasingly has to be healthy, natural, and sustainable.”