Man talking(l+r), Chick-fil-a sign(c)

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock @bearlynotional/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘They’re bringing child labor back’: Chick-fil-A under fire for $35 ‘summer camp’ that puts kids to work

‘Uhhh is the employment crisis really this bad?’


Braden Bjella


Chick-fil-A has garnered negative attention in the past for how the company treats its workers.

For example, locations have come under fire for making employees stand outside in incredibly hot or below-freezing temperatures. Former employees have also complained about being made to buy brand-specific clothing and not getting paid enough to eat at their own restaurant—a move that sometimes resulted in them snagging customer receipts in order to eat.

Now, a user on TikTok has sparked discussion after claiming a Chick-fil-A location is asking guests to pay $35 to send their child to “Chick-fil-A Summer Camp”—an experience that involves them simulating what it’s like to be a Chick-fil-A worker.

Chick-fil-A’s Summer Camp for kids

In a clip with over 684,000 views, TikTok user @bearlynotional shares a post from a Chick-fil-A location, which says they are offering a Chick-fil-A “summer camp.”

“Yes, this is real,” he states. He then reads from the outline for the ‘summer camp’: “‘Ideal for kids ages 5 to 12. $35 per child includes this stuff. Activities include dining room host and customer service skills, taking a guest order, bagging a guest order. We only accept 30 kids per session, so sign up quickly.’”

“Yeah, I’m sure kids want to jump right at this,” he concludes. “Capitalism is a hell of a drug.”

As the TikToker notes in a follow-up video, there is a Chick-fil-A location in West Hammond, Louisiana that is offering a “Chick-fil-A Summer Camp.” However, the program image is a bit different from what is shown in the TikToker’s video; it is unclear whether the Chick-fil-A location has changed its advertising around the program, or if the picture used by the TikToker has been edited.

@bearlynotional They’re bringing child labor back #capitalism #antiwork #letkidsbekids #summercamp #why #fastfood #customerservice #laborshortage #noonewantstoworkanymore ♬ original sound – Bearly Notional

All about the “Chick-fil-A Summer Camp”

This TikToker isn’t the first to call out the “summer camp.” The image went viral on Facebook earlier this week, with one post about it garnering over 1,300 shares.

While some internet users may be surprised by the existence of this summer camp, there appear to be several locations offering similar programs. For example, Houston television station KPRC made a report showing another location that had a similar program. According to a person interviewed for the piece, securing a spot is relatively difficult as they fill up quickly.

Commenters slam Chick-fil-A’s Summer Camp

In the comments section, users shared their thoughts on this peculiar offering.

“Hold up are they trying to have us pay for our kids to work?” asked a user.

“My kids school just did a field trip to a hotel to learn customer service jobs,” added another. “I didn’t let her go bc that’s ridiculous.”

“Uhhh is the employment crisis really this bad,” questioned a third.

That said, some supported the idea.

“Idk i think its cute,” stated a commenter. “All work is work, and thats a great way for kids to understand that the people who work in service are people just like them, people often get into the ‘thats an npc’ mindset.”

“This can actually help kids learn the life skills they need in adulthood,” declared a second. “As a customer service worker, this would be a great opportunity to teach kids things they might need to know when they reach High school and early adulthood. It can also help them build respect for the people serving them.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Chick-fil-A via media request form and @bearlynotional via email.

Update 3:05pm CT June 12: In an email to the Daily Dot, the TikToker responded to those who said this experience would be good for children as it would give them customer service experience before entering the workforce.

“The camp is for kids ages 5-12. The fact the kids need to start thinking of ‘job market skills’ at those ages is, frankly, ridiculous and seems indicative of work-obsessed culture in the US,” the TikToker wrote. “Not only do I think kids should be kids, but ask anyone if they remember what they learned in school at those ages, I’m willing to bet they don’t remember.”

“On top of that, even if one humors that this is just a ‘camp’ and the kids won’t do actual work, Chick-fil-A has history of questionable practices that have the guise of ‘valuable experience,’ but are just a ploy to get free labor,” he continued. “Back in 2022, a CFA franchise was asking for ‘volunteers’ that would be paid in food rather than money.”

As previously reported by the Daily Dot, it is true that a Chick-fil-A franchise requested that people volunteer to work at their location in 2022.

“In short, knowing CFA’s history and our rampant capitalist culture, this summer camp can be easily exploited as a way to get free labor,” the TikToker summarized. “I received comments from people thinking the idea of a company a having kids do labor is ridiculous, but I ask them this: Why do we have child labor laws? Because companies have NEVER done that? Even in recent years, businesses have been caught exploiting minors. It took me years to realize that, when I was a teenager, my bosses were exploiting me.”

The TikToker then offered thoughts on camps like these in general.

“I think my thoughts on this would require more detail on how specifically camps like this work, so it’s difficult to say,” the TikToker detailed. “I understand that it’s not unheard of for there to be class trips to restaurants and whatnot. I can understand that, but the ad for the CFA summer camp seems to show that they’re learning many jobs, and I can see this being easily abused. CFA seems to have purposely kept info on this ambiguous, and while I won’t accuse them of anything, I’ll say this is suspicious and has potential for exploitation.”

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