The History of and Story Behind the Chick Fil A Logo

Chick-Fil-A

One of the most popular fast food resteraunts around is Chick-Fil-A. Truett Cathy, its founder, made the decision early on to remained closed on Sundays to give his employees a chance to rest and to attend church without having to worry about work. His son, Dan Cathy, has continued that model.

The restaurants are still only open Monday through Saturday, and yet they still manage to earn about $3.1 million per store.

Since its founding in 1946 there have been a few versions of the logo. Do you know the story behind them? Read on to learn more.

The origin of Chick-Fil-A

Truett Cathy, an Army veteran, and his brother, Ben Cathy, decided to open a restaurant near a Ford Motor Company plant to capitalize on the many employees who worked in the area who needed to be fed before or after their shifts. The two opened the Dwarf Grill in 1948. Tragically, Ben Cathy died in an accident shortly thereafter.

The origins of the chicken sandwich

Truett Cathy renamed the restaurant the Dwarf House after his brother’s death. He watched his customers make chicken sandwiches by putting a chicken breast in between pieces of a roll. Truett Cathy decided to simply offer the meal on menu, and the chicken sandwich was born.

The chicken sanwhich proved to be so popular, Truett Cathy devised a way to make one as quickly as fast food restaurants were making hamburgers. After hand breading and seasoning chicken breasts, he pressure cooked them. They were then fried in peanut oil, placed on toasted butter buns, and garnished with two pickels. It would be some time before any other condiments were offered.

How Chick-Fil-A got its name

The new chicken sandwich quickly became the most popular item on the menu. Truett Cathy named it the “chicken steak sandwich” and tried to trademark it. When he approached a patent attorney about the idea, he was told that the name was not unique enough. He would have to change the spelling or turn it around or otherwise make it one of a kind enough to earn trademark protection.

Truett Cathy gave the name some additional consideration following the meeting with the lawyer. He eventually realized that since a fillet is the best cut of beef that it would signal a similar quality to potential customers of his sandwich.

He only served Grade A, top of the line chicken as well, and wanted to incorporate that fact into the name as well. The “A” also signaled that customers could expect exceptional service from employees as well. The name thus went from “chicken steak sandwich” to “chicken fillet” to, eventually, “Chick-Fil-A.”

Truett Cathy registered this name with the Trademark Department in 1963.

A Twitter user named Louie Giglio claimed in 2012 that his father collaborated with Evan Armstrong to create the original Chick-Fil-A logo in 1964. Some say the first logo included a rooster named Doodles.

All the letters in Doodles were capitalized, with the first and last letters being larger than the rest. The “S” was also stylized such that the upper curve formed the rooster’s head. It was completed with eyes, a beak, and a comb. This is a minority position, however.

Drawn on the back of a napkin

Most say the first design was literally done on the back of a napkin in 1967. It then served as the logo for Chick-Fil-A from 1967 to 1970 and was simply a rooster’s head with a smile. It was drawn in black and an accompanying comb and waffle drawn in red.

Next to the smiling poultry was the name of the company, Chick-Fil-A. “Chick” and “Fil” were written in black. The letter “A” and the hyphens, on the other hand, were in red. The “A” was also written as if it was done by a teacher on the top of a test or a term paper. 

A new logo emerges

After just three years, the logo changed. The rooster’s head was incorporated into the name of the company. The “C” in “Chick’ was drawn such that it curved on top to form the head of the rooster.

The eye and the comb were drawn in red. The comb resembled four toes and the beak looked to some like that of a parrot’s. 

The font of the “A” also changed so that it was in line with the rest of the letters. The color also changed so that now it was written in black.

This logo lasted until the mid-1980s. It was in 1985 that the shade of red used on the eyes and the comb was slightly altered.

Black goes the way of the dodo

In 1986, a year after altering the shade of red, Chick-Fil-A eliminated black from its color scheme and went with an all red logo. 

Ten years later, in 1996, the font of the lettering changed.

Refreshing the branch

The company thought it was time for a change again in 2012. The company executives hired RBMM to find a design that was new and fresh, but was not such an abrupt change that customers would be confused. 

The solution RBMM found was to alter the beak. The smiling parrot beak was out. In its place came one that more closely resembled a chicken’s beak. 

RBMM also suggested altering the comb so that it appeared a bit more upright. The other change was to change the font so that the letters were thinner. The result was a logo that was more readable and more modern. 

Where we stand today

The logo has remained unchanged since 2012. Other things that have not changed include the Sunday closures. Employees can remain home to rest, be with their families, or worship on Sundays rather than having to go into work under Dan Cathy’s leadership. 

Also the same? The chicken sandwich that customers have loved for many years. It seems that all of these will remain the same for some time to come.

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