California fires and Chick-fil-A produce


Photo provided by: Kaiden Bittinger

In the midst of the pandemic, these Chick-fil-a employees do their best to maintain social distancing guidelines. They’re still able to cooperate as one can break down the boxes while the other organizes them into the dumpster. These are just some of the ways they try to stay safe during the pandemic.

Kaiden Bittinger, Staff Reporter

The fires that have been raging in California this year, starting February 15, burn closer to home than some might think. Many companies rely on the farms in California for their fresh produce, and one such company that has been hit hard by the damage is Chick-Fil-A (CFA).

California suffers from fires every year, and 2020 is no exception. Their fire season began this February, and of the 8,000 fires this year, approximately 3.6 million acres of land have been burned, according to Cal Fire. Even then, more fires are starting and others are still burning. And unfortunately, the effects of this are seen in Florida as well, in the form of our produce.

“There is always a change in the produce lately, it comes in good one case another case we lose a lot,” Chick-fil-A manager Hazel James said. “If the farms are near the fires it can affect the produce from the heat or smoke from the fires.” 

High-quality, fresh food is imperative to CFA’s operation and it is what sets CFA apart from the rest. Regardless of the difficulties presented by the fires that CFA franchises have, when it comes to receiving shipments of food and produce, there are rules set in place to ensure that all the customers receive only the best food.

We check the produce when it is delivered to use,” James said. “We wash and check the lettuce and open each bundle when we are cleaning it to make use. We don’t use anything bad and we have a 24-hour hold time where we make salads wraps and fruit cups. This way we serve the freshest we can, and we use the label system to track the items we make.”

This label system tracks when it is safe to use food products, and at what time and day to throw it away. Proper use of this system is how Chick-fil-A maintains their quality food to their customers despite the changes in shipments. Considering the fires and the resulting poor quality of produce shipped from California to Chick-fil-A’s, it is important to acknowledge how customers would react if they noticed a change in quality as well

“Obviously, there’d be less business,” senior Marian Bustamante said. ”Because I think what makes Chick-fil-A so busy is that a lot of people like the quality of the food compared to other fast-food restaurants.”

The staff at Chick-fil-A have worked hard to ensure all the produce used in their salads, wraps, and sandwiches are of a good quality. If they were not, business would most likely go down, along  with their reputation.

“For me personally, that [produce] is all I eat at Chick-fil-A, so to know that the produce in salads wasn’t fresh would definitely make me stop wanting to eat there,” junior Ashley Hartley, who frequents Chick-fil-A, said. “For food at restaurants, I always expect it to be fresh, when you know it’s not you begin to think, ‘well I’m paying such and such for this so it better be good quality’.”