case study

Helping Chick-fil-A Innovate Chargrilled Chicken


Chick-fil-A is one of the largest American fast food restaurant chains and the largest specializing in chicken sandwiches. Their mission is to be America’s best quick-service restaurant at winning and keeping customers. 

Socratic previously worked with Chick-fil-A to identify the most preferred combinations for a chargrilled chicken sandwich for several objectives, including menu optimization & to identify the fewest number of menu options to offer, to drive traffic through sandwich innovation, and to understand differences by sub-groups.

The Solution

Choice-Based Exercises With Socratic Configurator Analysis ℠

Socratic paired a menu-based choice exercise with its Socratic Configurator Analysissm to identify the most preferred chargrilled chicken combinations and to profile the consumers configuring each preferred combination.

Menu-Based Choice Exercise

This exercise allows survey respondents to build their ideal chargrilled chicken sandwich from among:

  • 9 bread type options (e.g., honey sourdough, multigrain ciabatta)
  • 5 bread shapes (e.g., bulky round, oblong)
  • 16 cheese options (e.g., chipotle cheddar, queso fresco)
  • 4 lettuce options (baby greens, no lettuce)
  • 12 topping (e.g., fried onions, grilled pineapple)
  • 40 condiments (e.g., avocado mayo, sundried tomato pesto)
  • 9 packaging options (e.g., foil bag, paper box)

Images, ingredient descriptions, fun visuals (e.g., moving the bun down an assembly line) can be included as part of this exercise to enhance engagement and comprehension.

Socratic Configurator Analysis℠

Configurator Analysis is a proprietary analysis technique first introduced by Socratic Technologies in 1999. It is designed to gain a deep understanding of the value relationship between the discrete components of products & services, as well as to better understand the types of consumers attracted to each preferred combination.

Modified van Westendorp Pricing Analysis

Socratic paired a survey respondent’s ideal chargrilled chicken sandwich with a modified van Westendorp pricing exercise.
The Outcomes

Seven Unique Sandwich Combinations Identified

Socratic identified seven different chargrilled chicken configurations, which were primarily distinguished by the build size and whether the associated toppings and condiments were basic or less common items. Each configuration appealed to a unique customer segment, distinguished primary by demographics (age, gender, region) and by Chick-fil-A versus competitor chicken purchasers.

The analysis profiled the consumer segments that configured each combination to inform target marketing, positioning, and competitor activities.

Price modeling helped to optimize the price for each sandwich combination as well as to find offerings that would increase average expenditure per visit.
Chick-fil-a-Case Study-sandwich

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Socratic Technologies is a research-based consultancy that drives strategy and lifts brands. We believe in delivering high-touch client experiences as a cornerstone to providing irreplaceable value.