Buice column: From ‘my pleasure’ to cauliflower sandwiches at Chick-fil-A

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

Like all those who go to Chick-fil-A, which is virtually everyone, I’m sure you’ve been told “my pleasure” by one of the smiling, friendly employees when you thank them for handing over your food.
Perhaps it’s a sad commentary on our society to be surprised by such pleasant behavior, but after hearing these words following multiple visits to different locations, we all figure there has to be more to it — like being part of the job.
So when I was interviewing owner/operator David Moore of the Clemmons fast-food restaurant and the soon-to-be new Bermuda Run location for a story in the Courier’s upcoming first-ever Progress Edition on April 20, I had to ask that question.
“We teach it,” Moore said. “I want to say this has been part of our mantra for the last 10 or 12 years. It’s really become an expected response. ‘Hey, we want to do this. It’s our pleasure to do this.’ ”
Where did this come from, you might ask? Moore said that founder Truett Cathy picked it up from The Ritz-Carlton and asked about copying that motto. Now, it’s become a fixture just like the chicken sandwich, nuggets and waffle fries.
OK, but what about this cauliflower sandwich? Where did that come from, and why?
Moore explained, saying that Chick-fil-A periodically introduces new products to test and see how the markets respond. It successfully worked several years ago when the wonderful mac & cheese, which tastes like it came from Grandma’s house or K&W, became a permanent addition to the menu.
But again, cauliflower? Isn’t that what you eat when you’re on a bad diet or something?
“It’s very tasty,” Moore told me, smiling while looking at my frowning face. “It tastes like a cauliflower steak with Chick-fil-A breading on it.”
Then he elaborated.
“It’s designed to meet the needs of what is termed the flexitarian — so not a pure vegetarian or a vegan because we prepare it in the same milk wash as we do chicken but people that maybe don’t want to eat meat as much.”
I get all that, but…
“I’ll have to let you try one,” Moore said.
So I did and have to admit that it exceeded expectations, although I’ll no doubt still stick with the signature chicken sandwich even if it makes the cut.
Now as for the Caramel Crumble shake that will make its experimental debut in the fall…
I can’t wait.

• • • • •

Speaking of desserts — which I received several responses to from last month’s column on some of the unique choices at Suba’s in Mountain City, Tenn. — a trip to the beach in the North Myrtle Beach/Calabash area the first weekend of spring netted some more tasty tweets.
First was the caramel pecan bread pudding at a restaurant called Gravy, followed the next night at Melt with a salted caramel (see a theme here?) truffle waffle cone and then the crème brulee cheesecake at the Boundary House.
In addition to the food, it was a great getaway, including walks on the beach, but I couldn’t believe how many people were down there. The traffic had a feel more like summer at times. And on one of the weather impact days, a visit to the Tanger Outlets was met by a full parking lot.
Who says everyone only shops online these days?

• • • • •

Last week’s Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum panel discussion at the Historic Broyhill Office Suites covered a wide range of topics, including the challenges of finding workers.
Terry Bralley, the longtime Davie County Economic Development Commission president, said, “We’ve got to figure out this labor issue. It doesn’t matter what you pay them. Pick a number — $18 an hour, $20 an hour, $25, they may show up this week and they are gone next week. I mean the turnover is ridiculous in some of these places. I’m not sure what do you do in terms of how you get these folks back to work.”
He then offered another example filling some of the slots.
“I’ve got a company, the third largest textile company in the world, Gildan. They go to Greensboro with a bus every day to pick up refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq. They fill their plant with them. They take them home. They have met their goal by doing that. We as a country have got to come up with a solution for immigration. Neither side wants to fix it, but we need to figure that out.”
Mayor Mike Horn of Lewisville then provided another take on the subject.
“This is probably the key issue that we’re going to be facing,” he said. “We’ve got to adapt a different attitude about people who want to come here from other countries to escape persecution and escape crime and have a better quality of life.
“You talk to people down east who have hog farms. Those are all immigrants. Well, if it wasn’t for them, we would not have a hog industry, we would not have a tree farm industry, we would not have manufacturing to a great extent. We have a huge demand in our economy with our resident population, so we better think differently about how we welcome other people in this country.”
Then there was another perspective on employment from Mayor Mike Rogers of Clemmons on trying to find help.
“We have two landscape positions open,” he said. “We have increased our salary structure, we have increased our benefits, and we have now gone to a four-day work week in the Public Works Department encouraging people to come. We’ve had zero applicants in the last six months for those two positions. We also have an engineer position. We cannot compete with the private market. They are gobbling up the engineers left and right. We have our current manager who is filling in as the stormwater engineer right now. We are looking for folks.”
Sounds like that’s a common, and continuing, theme all around.