Although Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday’s, the average Chick-fil-A store sold more in six days a week in 2011 than any other fast-food chain did in seven. Its industry leading $2.7 million per store was $300,000 more than the average McDonald’s, and its $4 billion in annual sales put the Atlanta company on track to pass KFC as the nation’s ninth biggest.

Dan Cathy, son of founder Truett Cathy, cites knowing how to please the customer as a cornerstone of the chain’s success.  “You keep reinventing things to keep up with their lifestyle.  But real hospitality remains timeless,” Cathy said in an recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times.  Training is also key, according to Cathy.

Chick-fil-A own their own stores, then charge $5,000 to an independent operator to run one for half the profits.  The average operator earned $190,000 last year, and Cathy attributed the success of that business model by putting Chick-fil-A’s interests on the same side of the table as the operators.   “And by charging up front, we attract more entrepreneurs,” Cathy said.