Chick-fil-A, Inc.: Selection of Operating Systems for POS Terminals to Serve Business Functions Case Study

  • Chetan S Sankar
  • P. K. Raju
  • Patrick Klesius
  • Nelson F Ford


Mike Erbrick, Director of Restaurant Information Systems at Chick-fil-A, was given the responsibility of converting the restaurant?s point of sales (POS) systems from a proprietary EPROM based system to a newer system. This changeover had an investment impact of approximately $3.29 million based on the differences in the costs required to implement the various POS systems being considered, which could be as high as $15,000 per outlet depending on the system chosen and store layout. Within its more than 700 outlets, Chick-fil-A averaged about 8 POS systems per store compared to the two or three systems per store used by other quick-service restaurant chains. The number of POS systems gave rise to additional confusion for the kitchen staff because they could have six to eight orders arriving simultaneously on the Kitchen Display System (KDS) screens. Thus, the new system had to be extremely efficient and scalable to meet the needs of individual stores. Perhaps most importantly to the store owners using the system, who are compensated based on their sales figures and net income, the sales data should be relayed to Chick-fil-A?s corporate headquarters accurately and reported back to each store in a timely manner.