Fact Check

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Facebook users swarmed Chick-fil-A's Facebook page to complain about imminent discontinuation of cole slaw from the brand's menu.

Published Nov 29, 2015

[green-label]Claim:[/green-label]  Chick-fil-A is removing Cole Slaw from their menu on 18 January 2016.


[green-label]Example:[/green-label] [green-small][Collected via Facebook and e-mail, November 2015][/green-small]

I heard Chick Fila will stop serving their coleslaw as of January 18, 2016. Is this true? Also being shared on Facebook is a recipe of coleslaw. Usvthisvtheir actual recipe? Thanks!

chick fil a cole slaw january 18

[green-label]Origins:[/green-label]   On 28 November 2015 the Facebook page "Chickfil A Pelham Road" published the above-reproduced image, with no further context or information about its claims.

According to the photo, Chick-fil-A planned to discontinue Cole Slaw from its menu beginning 18 January 2016. The classic side was to be axed in part to make room for a "Superfood Salad" (made from kale), and the chain appeared to offer their recipe as a concession to fans of its traditional Cole Slaw.

Soon after the photo first appeared, Facebook users flooded Chick-fil-A's official page to protest the purported retirement of Cole Slaw. The brand (traditionally closed for business on Sundays) didn't immediately respond to any of its fans, but neither could we find any indication the shared image originated with the official Chick-fil-A page. No mentions of Cole Slaw (or its discontinuation) were visible on that page, nor was the circulating image uploaded to its timeline at any point in the past few months.

A search for any announcements from Chick-fil-A about Cole Slaw led to a thread on their Facebook wall dated 18 January 2010, in which a customer asked:

why did you stop offering Cole Slaw???? we LOVE your Cole Slaw!!! i was so disappointed today!!!

On 18 January 2010, a fellow user (who listed their occupation as Chick-fil-A franchisee) replied:

Mari, only a very small number of CFA's are not offering Cole Slaw. It is a test that runs through the first half of the year, where they get rid of some items that don't sell well. Go to www.chick-fil-a.comand click on "contact us" then "feedback". They really are listening to customers feedback. Perhaps there will be a big enough outcry about the slaw. But I stress again, there are only around 30 Chick-fil-A's doing this. Sorry about the inconvenience!

That thread went silent until May 2015, when it appeared that the rumor began circulating again; on 14 October 2015, a user replied:

I was told by a manager that it is gone for good by the end of the year nationwide.

On 1 November 2015, a Facebook user claimed that she e-mailed Chick-fil-A about the availability of Cole Slaw, and received a reply about side item market testing:

Here is the response I received from the message sent to corporate: "Thank you for your inquiry about the removal of Cole Slaw at your local Chick-fil-A.

Restaurants in the following markets - Richmond, VA; St. Louis MO; Indianapolis, IN; Southwest, FL; and Knoxville, TN - are participating in a test where we have added a few new side items and removed Cole Slaw because of its declining sales.

This test has created more side options for our customers to choose from instead of our Waffle Potato Fries. We now have the following side item alternatives: Plain Baked Potato, Loaded Baked Potato, Superfood Side, Fruit Cup, Greek Yogurt Parfait, Side Salad, and Hearty Breast of Chicken Soup.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A."

Concerns about the availability of Chick-fil-A Cole Slaw weren't restricted to Facebook; a March 2014 Yelp review for a Chick-fil-A in Virginia Beach lamented the location's participation in the chain's market testing:

We all know what we get with chick fil-a.....but today I am sad.  Chick fil-a, not as a whole, but this location on the blvd. has let me down.

I tried to order coleslaw and was told that this location has discontinued serving coleslaw.  Yes, this location only.


How the hell does one franchise location discontinue a staple menu item?

Well rest assured, I emailed chick fil-a corporate and honestly wish I would have gotten the name of that employee because she needs to be fired for being dumb.

However, a search of Chick-fil-A's most recent press releases turned up no announcements about Cole Slaw, and the item remains active on its web site. On Twitter, @ChickfilA made no such proclamations (nor did the account share a recipe), and the only mention of Cole Slaw we located occurred in May. In that response, Chick-fil-A confirmed that Cole Slaw was removed in specific markets (not chainwide):

The fate of the chain's Cole Slaw became less ambiguous on 1 January 2016, when Chick-fil-a confirmed via a Facebook comment that slaw fans' fears were indeed founded; as of 18 January the item would be 86'd from the menu at all outlets. The response in question stated:

Hi Al, removing Cole Slaw from the menu was a difficult decision. We know many of our customers loved our Cole Slaw, yet we have also heard from our customers that they are looking for new tastes and healthier ways to eat in our restaurants. It is important to us to provide a wide variety of menu options and this will occasionally mean we have to remove one menu item to make room for another. We will be announcing some new items soon, and hope everyone will be as excited about them as we are. We will also provide our recipe for Cole Slaw via our social media channels so our customers may make the dish at home. In regard to our Carrot & Raisin Salad, now you can make it at home with our recipe here: https://inside.chick-fil-a.com/chick-fil-a-original.../. Have a wonderful day!

Chick-fil-a pledged via social media to make their recipe for Cole Slaw public at a later date, offering up the similarly retired Carrot & Raisin Salad in the interim. As promised, Chick-fil-a published a recipe for their Cole Slaw to their web site on 31 December 2015.



Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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