This case studies the Chick-fil-A drive-thru congestion through the lens of operations research. We design four modules that introduce several fundamental OR techniques to students at all levels. The main advantages of this case are as follows.
First, it is based on a real-life application that strongly motivates students’ learning interest.
Second, while generally, OR research can be very technical, this case presents key ideas using easy-to-implement examples suitable for students from any background. Students can also form a high-level understanding of OR, as these four modules naturally connect as a cohesive and practical decision-making pipeline.
Finally, the teaching plan is highly flexible, so the instructors can customize the course materials according to their own design. Although we provide the code in R, the simulators can be written in other languages, such as Python, by following the same framework with simple changes in the syntax.
Overall, this Chick-fil-A case could have a great impact in classrooms by spurring students’ interest in operations research/management.