Considered by many to be the best fast-food restaurant that exists, Chick-fil-A has enjoyed immense success nationwide. Their success is even more impressive when the fact that the restaurant does not open on Sundays, and is vocal about their conservative beliefs is considered.
Despite putting a giant target on its back, the chain is thriving. This fact has caused many to wonder, what exactly is the secret? Did the founder S. Truett Cathy know something about the restaurant industry that others haven’t grasped? Perhaps, Trudy Cathy White, the only daughter of S. Truett Cathy, can shed some light on the matter.
When asked what the secret was to the restaurant chains prodigious success, and its loyal following, Cathy spoke about the founder’s spirituality.
“We do appreciate the fact that we feel like God is blessing our business,” she said. “I don’t know that there’s really a secret to it. My dad built this business on biblical principles. He felt like his business decisions kind of go hand-in-hand with biblical principles. That’s no secret. There’s a lot of things that we are taught in God’s Word, and we’ve been able to put into practice in our business.”
She went on to add that the business itself strives to honor God.
“Above everything, I think at Chick-fil-A, we’ve gotten real clarity of our purpose of why we’re in business,” Cathy continued. “That’s been really important to us. Back in the early 80s, we recognized the fact that we didn’t have a clear direction as to why we were in business. But we know today that we’re in business to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that’s been trusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A. We love selling chicken, but we’re really more in the people business.”
Cathy was then asked what valuable lessons she learned from her entrepreneurial father throughout her upbringing, including the beginning of the restaurant.
“I think the most important thing we have to do is be faithful to the calling that God has put on our hearts and to live that out consistently,” she answered. “I greatly admired my dad as one who lived a very consistent life. It didn’t matter whether he was at home, whether he was at the office, or whether he was in a meeting with the other CEOs, he was just always the same.”
“Other than the foundation that our parents gave us in our Christian faith, I think one of the things that my dad taught me was how to care for other people. My dad told me this since I was a little girl, he said ‘Trudy, if you will help others get what they want in life, you will eventually get what you want out of life.’”
Even though Chick-fil-A has enjoyed a great deal of popularity and success, the chain has still faced criticism for making moral stands on certain hot-button issues, such as biblical marriage.
“I think everybody in life maybe has to deal with negativity in some form or fashion,” Cathy explained. “I think for us, our perspective is, you can’t really control what other people think or what other people say, I can’t do that. But, you can control what you think and what you know about yourself.”
Recently, the restaurants values were put to the test when they had to decide whether to open their doors for the Super Bowl. Chick-fil-A has a chain inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which hosted this year’s Super Bowl featuring the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. The game, of course, was to be played on Sunday.
The chain could have decided to open and make a great deal of revenue, or adhere to their values and keep their doors closed to honor the Sabbath. Chick-fil-A once again made news when they decided to remain closed as usual, and forego the income they would have received from Super Bowl fans attending the game. This decision only serves to further confirm all the statements made above by Cathy about her family’s values and the secret to the chain’s success.
The secret is that there is no secret. It’s simply serving God, treating people well and always honoring one’s values.
~ 1776 Christian