The Truth About The Chick-Fil-A Museum

Chick-fil-A has become more than just a household name. Fox Business reports that the fast food chain has garnered a large enough following that 2018 saw its annual revenue swell to roughly $9 billion. Not only do they sell a lot of chicken, for the past four years the company has come out on top of the American Customer Service Index survey, ranking the number one best fast food chain in the United States according to consumers (via USA Today). Entrepreneur states that Chick-fil-A had a humble start in the 1940s at the Dwarf House, a small diner in Hapeville, Georgia opened by S. Truett Cathy, the man who would eventually go on to found Chick-fil-A. It is there that Cathy debuted his first chicken sandwich, which was such a hit that it is still served at the Dwarf House today. 

Realizing the genius behind his simple sandwich, Cathy opened the first Chick-fil-A location in 1967 and the rest is, well, history. In fact, the chicken sandwich chain's story is so beloved by the company and fans alike, that Chick-fil-A created what is called the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour to share this history with its foodie fans. On the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour, a guide takes visitors around the company's 80-acre Support Center in Atlanta, Georgia, sharing the history and values that created the brand we know today (via Trip Advisor). If it sounds a little odd to you for a fast food chain to have an honest-to-goodness museum detailing its past and culture, well we're kind of with you, but there is so much to see on the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour you'll be glad you visited this hidden gem.

Chick-fil-A's museum is in Atlanta, Georgia

The Chick-fil-A Support Center is located in the College Park neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. Upon arrival, it will be hard to not be impressed with the sprawling grounds that include numerous walking trails and gorgeous landscaping (via ATL District). Chick-fil-A offers two different tours: The Original and The Deluxe. According to the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour website, The Original tour is 45-minutes long, taking you through a storytelling experience that gives fans insight into Cathy's vision, a look at the genesis of the fast food restaurant, and a riveting Q&A. The Deluxe tour adds on a visit with the chain's Archives Team and a behind the scenes look at their test kitchen and training center (affectionately called The Nest). You will need a full hour for the Deluxe tour. Lifestyle blogger Gracefully Broken says it will cost you $20 for this extended treat or $10 for The Original.

If you have no plans to travel to Georgia anytime soon, but still want to enjoy this Chick-fil-A history lesson, you can do so by registering online for an hour long virtual experience, Monday through Friday. All tours require a visit to the Chick-fil-A website to make a reservation.

Spend some time in the founder's office

One interesting spot along this tour is when visitors are given a peek inside of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy's office. The room is filled with fascinating memorabilia and has a huge window featuring a sunny, tree-filled view that had us thinking of The Swiss Family Robinson. This office is where the Cathy came up with many of his big ideas and fostered some of the key values that have shaped the company's path. In front of the Chick-fil-A founder's desk is a wagon filled with bottles of Coca-Cola, a nod to Cathy's humble beginnings and his first entrepreneurial lesson about adding value to a product (via Chick-fil-A).

Additionally, the office is filled with items special to the founder, including many family photos and a flag gifted to Cathy by service members in the U.S. Army. Homeschooling blogger Mommy Octopus says that there's a lot of story telling that goes on in this room, so be prepared to enjoy some of the thought-provoking history that ultimately led to the creation of the beloved chicken sandwich chain.

The tour includes a car collection featuring the Batmobile

Perhaps one of the best and most impressive exhibits that fans who take the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour are treated to is part of the "Moo-seum". Here, you will find a vintage car collection that is a history lesson in and of itself. Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy was apparently a big fan of collecting fun and unique classic automobiles, with Mommy Octopus saying that Cathy's vintage car collection even contains a Batmobile! DrivingLine detailed the other historic cars on display such as a vintage fire engine and several luxury cars owned previously by celebrities like heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson and glamorous actress Eva Gabor.

In addition to the classic car collection, guests on the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour will visit a replica of the Dwarf Grill, Cathy's diner that started it all. Gracefully Broken shared that in this portion of the tour, you will learn about how Cathy rewarded eight loyal customers from the Dwarf Grill's first days by signing an original menu for each, promising that they would always be charged the prices from way back in the 1940s — and two of these patrons are said to still be alive today! That's a pretty good perk in exchange for nearly 80 years of customer loyalty. 

Guests on The Deluxe get to visit the Chick-fil-A test kitchen

While all the other stops on the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour are cool, the test kitchen and the Hatch Innovation Center is likely what gets the chicken fast food chain's fans most excited. Per Mommy Octopus, Chick-fil-A's Hatch Innovation Center is where all the training happens and even includes a pretend drive-thru where tricycles are used instead of cars. If you're lucky, it's here that you might get to sample some of the chicken company's tasty creations.

No museum trip is complete without ending your visit at the gift shop, and the Chik-fil-A Backstage Tour is no different. Gracefully Broken noted that the shop was filled with t-shirts, backpacks, tumblers, and socks, so be sure to bring a little extra spending money for a souvenir or a gift for a chicken-loving friend; and don't forget to take a selfie with the chain's iconic renegade cows.

The bottom line is, if you're a fan of Chick-fil-A and would like to learn more about how one little restaurant in Georgia grew to become the massively successful company Chick-fil-A is today, then this tour is for you.