Food & Drink

Chick-fil-A charges $35 for controversial kids summer camp: ‘Yay!! Child labor!!'

Social media users are split on their thoughts about the Louisiana program

A Chick-fil-A restaurant
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

A Chick-fil-A in Louisiana is raising eyebrows for its popular new kids program.

On June 5, a franchisee in Hammond, Louisiana, announced a unique experience for kids: Chick-fil-A Summer Camp. Admission for the camp is $35 and consists of one, three-hour session with team leaders (Chick-fil-A-speak for managerial employees) and is suggested for kids ages five to 12.

The camp comes with a kids meal, T-shirt, name tag and snack and consists of various activities like spending “some time with the Chick-fil-A Cow and Chick-fil-A Team Leaders” as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of a franchise location.

“We are excited to announce our very first Chick-fil-A Summer Camp,” the Facebook post reads. There were initially three sessions offered at the West Hammond location, each with a capacity of 30 children.

The concept proved so popular — all sessions sold out in an hour — that the restaurant added three more sessions on June 6.

Still, this deep-fried summer camp concept proved to be rather divisive. In the comments section of the posts, some overjoyed parents and mostly apprehensive readers took to their keyboards to let their thoughts be known.

“Yay!! Child labor!!” wrote one Facebook commenter, with another saying, “THIS IS CRAZYYYY LOL.”

“This is super weird are these people trained in child care?” asked someone else, with a commenter adding, “Teach em nice and early how to be corporate wage slaves."

There were supportive comments, too.

“I’ll go against the grain here. Kudos to you, Chick-Fil-A Hammond,” wrote one commenter in support. “It’s nice to see an offer to teach young children about work ethic and responsibility, while having a little fun at the same time. I’ll ask my daughter if she’s interested in attending.”

“Sent! Can’t wait!!” wrote one parent who signed their kid up — another replied that they had as well.

A few folks simply tagged the U.S. Department of Labor’s Facebook page in the comments section.

“I don’t like the stage of capitalism we are in right now for so many of yall to think this is a great idea,” wrote another commenter. “If this wasn’t a ‘Christian’ company and say, a local McDonald’s, would yall be over the moon for paying for the exploitation of your child ?”

“Every person who thinks this is a good idea should be in jail,” added another.

“Making kids learning fast food instead of reading, crafting, playing music, discovering nature, sports and so many wonderful things a kid can learn is disgusting 🤮,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “Corporations taking over the education of children is very, very dystopian. It reminds me the movie Idiocracy.”

“Very healthy and normal country,” said one more. 

Chick-fil-A declined’s request for comment on the backlash and on specifics of whether campers will be taking and bagging orders as one commenter suggested.

Representatives for the brand did say, however, that campers are not doing the work of team members as part of this program, adding that Chick-fil-A employees serving as counselors will not engage in their usual tasks during camp and will instead do activities with campers.

This is not the first time the chain has hosted a summer camp. A Houston-area Chick-fil-A started its still-running experience six years ago with activities like bingo and trivia.

Although the Texas-area kids camp also sold out quickly this year, the chain’s national representative tells these camps do not turn a profit. Additionally, Chick-fil-A notes the camps are not part of a corporate program and that all of its restaurants are locally owned. Owners who live and work in the communities in which their restaurants operate create their own programs to engage with their neighbors.  

Still, some commenters appear genuinely concerned about child labor law violations. Children being overworked in the food service industry has been a growing problem in the U.S. for years. In 2023, more than 300 children, including two 10-year-olds, were found to be working at McDonald’s restaurants across four states in violation of federal labor laws. 

According to the Department of Labor, investigators found that three franchises in Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio were found to have children working at the drive-through as well as preparing food orders and other tasks.

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