Reddit Can't Believe Chick-Fil-A's Cross-Shaped Drive-Thru Windows

Is Chick-fil-A trying to send its customers subliminal messages, or is the fried chicken chain simply trying to make its drive-thrus more efficient?

Chick-fil-A is either loved or hated for being proud and vocal about its Christian values (via Baptist Press). Its corporate purpose is to "glorify God," and to that end, its restaurants are religiously closed on Sundays. Chick-fil-A's family owners haven't been bashful about expressing support for the biblical definition of marriage and family, which has angered LGBTQ+ groups (via Vox). As then-CEO Dan Cathy said once in a radio interview, during the height of the gay marriage debate several years ago, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you do as to what constitutes marriage.'"

Earlier this month, Andrew Cathy became Chick-fil-A's new CEO, taking over for his father Dan (via The Wall Street Journal). Andrew is no black sheep in the Cathy family. He maintains the same Christian values as his father, and Chick-fil-A will remain closed on Sundays. But he is looking to make some changes, including at the restaurant's drive-thrus. According to QSR, Chick-fil-A has had the slowest drive-thru times among major fast food chains over the past few years. More than anything else, any new wrinkles you discover at the Chick-fil-A drive-thru are probably attempts to increase efficiency, not advertise the chain's Christian identity.

Chick-fil-A has many strategies for speeding up its drive-thrus

New CEO Andrew Cathy acknowledged Chick-fil-A's slow drive-thru times in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "We're constantly looking at the operations," Cathy said, when asked if his drive-thrus were fast enough. "We've got some stores that are utilizing parking lots for second and third drive-thru lanes. A lot of team members are out in parking lots taking orders on iPads."

The iPad idea didn't come from the corporate office. According to The Chicken Wire, individual franchise-owners would send employees out to the line of cars to write down orders on notepads. They would then call the orders into the kitchen using cell phones. Corporate brought in the iPads to streamline drive-thru ordering even more. Like most other fast food chains, Chick-fil-A also encourages customers to order ahead using its app, to speed up their drive-thru experience. Chick-fil-A fans on Reddit discovered that some Chick-fil-A locations have set up an express drive-thru lane, reserved for mobile orders only.

Clearly, Chick-fil-A is doing a lot to increase drive-thru efficiency, but slow drive-thrus turn out to be a good problem for the chicken chain. Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thrus among major fast food chains because it's much busier than the others, according to QSR. Other restaurants might have one or two cars in line, while Chick-fil-A could easily have six.

Another tactic Chick-fil-A has adopted to boost drive-thru speed is less about mobile technology and more about carpentry. The chain is turning its drive-thru windows into doors, and the result has customers seeing religious symbols.

Chick-fil-A's drive-thru door resembles a cross, but it's about efficiency

Chick-fil-A customers on Reddit couldn't help but wonder at the look of the new drive-thru window design at the fast food chain. Redditor "lovelyclo465" posted a photo from inside their car showing the drive-thru window at a Chick-fil-A in Dublin, Ohio. The photo showed how the chain's hybrid drive-thru window/door works, with an employee half in and half out of the restaurant, handing off food to someone inside a car. From the oblique angle of the photo, the shape of the door and window frames looked just like a Christian cross.

Some Redditors picked up on this design feature, and some of them said it was popping up at other Chick-fil-A locations across the U.S. "It's shaped like a cross. Definitely not unintentionally done," a Reddit user commented.

Well, maybe and maybe not. Other Redditors pointed out that the door-window combo at the Chick-fil-A enabled the whole drive-thru process to move more quickly. "If your order is ready before the two cars in front of you, they just walk out and give it to you so you can go ahead and pull out of line," another Redditor commented. "They've done this for the past three or four years at my local Chick-fil-A, and it works well."

"This is indeed how they do it," Redditor VCDecertator replied, sounding like they wanted to put the "Christian cross or efficiency element" debate to rest, once and for all. "Source: I work at CFA."