Chick-fil-A has added macaroni & cheese to its menu, the first change to the menu since 2016, CNBC reports.
The company, famous for its chicken products and waffle fries, test-marketed macaroni & cheese in a handful of locations. It’s based on a “classic” recipe, says CNN, made with a blend of cheeses including cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano and baked fresh daily. And customers couldn’t get enough of the baked, gooey goodness.
For this reason, the company is ready to offer it nationally. Amanda Norris, Chick-fil-A’s head of menu and packaging, says that if Chick-fil-A adds it to their menu, that means it’s the real deal, as the company rarely makes changes to its menu.
“We have a very high bar when it comes to adding a menu item, but the feedback from our customers in the test markets made this decision easy,” she says.
This is the first time the company has made an addition to its menu since 2016. Unlike McDonald’s or Arby’s, which are always tinkering with their menus, trying new things, offering special promotions, and so on, Chick-fil-A tends to stick with a few core menu items.
That means, among other things, that the quality is consistent. It also helps the company move product more quickly: Chick-fil-A is practically legendary for its ability to get customers their food lickety-split, especially at the drive-through.
Chick-fil-A just added mac and cheese to its permanent menu https://t.co/IBOZqsiFw0
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 12, 2019
The few additions Chick-fil-A has made to its menu in recent years have focused on healthier options.
Another new menu item is being added to Chick-fil-A menus beginning Monday as well, although this one is not permanent. Through November 9 or as long as supplies last, the company is offering Frosted Caramel Coffee, a blend of cold brew coffee, ice cream, and caramel syrup.
While expanding its menu, the chain is also expanding geographically. The company is poised to move into Seattle and New York and is, as Forbes described it in 2018, “McDonald’s biggest new threat.”
One possible reason for the company’s success, according to Forbes, is the fact that it moves extremely cautiously when opening new locations. Subway, for example, for a time seemed to be opening a new location on every corner until the bubble burst in 2017 and was forced to close 900 of its 27,000 units. Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, had only 2,300 locations in December 2018, a third of what Burger King had. What’s more, the company only approves about 80 applications for new locations each year, and franchisees can only open one restaurant.