Swoszowski said sales for his McDonald’s sites got back on track in July 2020, and this summer his numbers are “considerably above” last year’s totals.
“We’ve been very blessed to keep our core customers and core crew,” Swoszowski said. “We’re back to business as normal, and I could not be happier.”
Harney said despite the pandemic, his sales at Chick-fil-A increased by 17% last year, and the chain’s other locations in Hall experienced similar growth. He credits this positive outcome to Chick-fil-A’s efficient drive-thru system and mobile app.
Harney said the Chick-fil-A One app, which launched around 10 years ago, experienced a huge uptick in users during the pandemic. The platform allows customers to order food for pickup via drive-thru, curbside and now inside. People are rewarded with points based on their activity on the app, and those points are redeemable for menu items.
When Harney began operating his Chick-fil-A store 23 years ago, he said 60% of his customers sat down in the restaurant to eat. In 2019, he said only 20% opted for dine-in.
With the reopening of his dining space, Harney said he expected those numbers to go back. However, this wasn’t the case.
“We’re at 7% back in right now for dine-in,” he said. “Will we ever go back to 20%? My guess is no. They love mobile orders and catering orders. Even though they may feel safe, they just habitually got used to these other channels of ordering.”
Harney said leading up to last month, many customers asked him to allow eating inside the restaurant. Despite their requests, he said many still prefer taking their food home or even eating in their cars in the parking lot.
Harney said this outcome reminds him of the quote, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
“It just shows the power of habit,” Harney said.