SINCE 1988

Why Chick-fil-A Launched an Activities Brand


Chick-fil-A is busy growing at a clip of about 4% a year, introducing new restaurant models, generating massive AUVs, running delivery-led concepts, and testing things like drones and autonomous robots. So it was perhaps a bit of a surprise when the brand announced the launch of a new brand called pennycake that sells board games, puzzles and activities aimed at promoting family play time.

There’s no food involved, no signature customer service. No operationally enhancing technology. But Kate Neyhart, principal team leader, Brand Strategy, said it very much fits within the ethos of Chick-fil-A.

“One of the things that has always been special about Chick-fil-A is its appeal and convenience as a family gathering spot. We have always worked to create a restaurant environment that is a welcoming place for families and kids of all ages,” she said. “As dining habits have shifted in recent years, and more people are experiencing Chick-fil-A via different service channels that may not always include time inside our four walls, we have to find new ways to add value and continue to deliver on a memorable, family-friendly experience.”

In other words, the pandemic was a catalyst for pennycake – a way for Chick-fil-A to maintain that “family-friendly experience” even as digital sales grew to 40-to-50% at the chain. Pennycake soft launched in May 2023 and is now available publicly for the first time – intentionally in time for the holidays – at

The idea to create games and activities – like ChatterTime conversation cards and a Mix It Up activity box – came from a group of parents who work for Chick-fil-A after they discovered a study showing that American families spend only about 37 minutes of quality time together on any given weekday. As an original Chick-fil-A brand, pennycake is managed by an internal team of the chain’s employees in partnership with several agency partners. Outside parenting experts act as consultants on the brand’s products.

“As a new way to help facilitate moments of togetherness and play, pennycake was created to bring busy families an easy opportunity to connect and have fun whether they are at home or on-the go. We designed simple games and activities that encourage busy families to spend time together, which we know is becoming increasingly harder in today’s world,” Neyhart said.

Pennycake is primarily a direct-to-consumer retail brand, but Chick-fil-A is expanding the brand into its kids’ meal program as a way to introduce the concept to its customers. Twice a year, kids’ meals will include miniature versions of signature pennycake products.

“The ultimate goal is to help families make more meaningful minutes with one another, whether over a Chick-fil-A meal or around the table at home,” Neyhart said. “(This) is one way we can add additional value.”

It may not be the last way the chain explores such experiences beyond its four walls.

“While in-restaurant dining will always provide the signature hospitality Chick-fil-A is known for, we are excited to explore new ways to meet our customers where they are,” Neyhart said. “The pennycake collection is just the beginning of how play at Chick-fil-A can evolve beyond the dining room.”


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