What Senior Living Can Learn from Chick-fil-A’s Free Food Policy

Businesses across many sectors have long been drawn to Chick-fil-A’s business model. In senior living, several business practices of the fast food giant—from its approach to customer service to its employee on-boarding practices—have at some point caused a stir.

It was only a matter of time, then, until senior living providers copied Chick-fil-A’s approach to discounting.

Though the replication wasn’t intentional, it seems to have taken place at Atlanta-based Isakson Living, a senior living provider with one continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Georgia and another under development.

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The provider’s existing CCRC in Stone Mountain, Georgia—Park Springs—is currently undergoing an expansion that’s scheduled to be completed in June. The expansion is primarily motivated by the CCRC’s changing resident population, Andy Isakson, managing partner of Isakson Living, told Senior Housing News.

“Our population has aged some,” Isakson said. “We’re expanding our memory care to accommodate.”

Park Springs currently has 14 memory care units; in June, it will have 36, he said.

To ensure a quick fill-up for the 22 new units, Isakson will offer new memory care residents a “Price for Life” package, or a guarantee that their monthly costs will not increase as they age—regardless of any additional care they require.

For comparison, when a new Chick-fil-A opens, the first 100 customers in line win one free chicken sandwich meal a week for a year. In other words, a lasting incentive draws a large group of customers to the new location quickly, with the promise that the price of their meals won’t increase for a year.

Though he didn’t have Chick-fil-A in mind when he decided to go forward with the promotion, Isakson has high hopes for its success. Specifically, he hopes the “Price for Life” promotion will help the larger CCRC achieve stabilization faster. Once the new units are filled, however, the promotion will end.

“Eventually we’ll convert over to annual price increases,” Isakson said.

All the while, Isakson believes the promotion is an appropriate way to honor Park Springs’ newest memory care residents.

“I think it’s a nice thing to do for your founding members, so to speak,” he said.

Lately, discounted rates and sales have been embraced by some senior living providers, but have come under fire from others.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

Photo Credit: “Chick-Fil-A” by Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0

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