“Armed with a keen business sense, a work ethic forged during the Depression, and a personal and business philosophy based on biblical principles, Truett Cathy took a tiny Atlanta diner, originally called the Dwarf Grill, and transformed it into Chick-fil-A, the nation´s second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain with nearly $1.75 billion in sales in 2004 and currently more than 1,200 locations. His tremendous business success allowed Truett to pursue other passions — most notably his interest in the development of young people…
Following — in his own words — are five basic principles upon which Cathy successfully built the Chick-fil-A chain.
1. CLIMB WITH CARE AND CONFIDENCE
"Every day, a framed poster of a mountain climber given to me by my daughter Trudy reminds me to "climb with care and confidence.´ I wholeheartedly believe in this philosophy, which is why in all my years in the restaurant business, I have never tried to overextend. I´m satisfied stepping from one plateau to the next, making sure we´re doing everything right before moving on. That way of thinking has allowed us to grow steadily into a $1.5 billion-dollar business with more than 1,200 restaurants, while responding to the needs of people around us. I know the best way to grow our business is to climb with care and confidence."??
2. CREATE A "LOYALTY EFFECT"??
"Our people are the cornerstone of all that we do at Chick-fil-A. As a chain, we believe that attracting great people helps create an unforgettable experience for our customers. It requires a lot of time and effort to make sure you have the right people working the right jobs, but we believe this is time well spent. The bottom line is that our people, from our restaurant Operators to the team members they hire, enjoy their work. Fewer than five percent of our franchise Operators leave the chain in any given year. The more we can foster the feeling that we are a group of people working together, depending on each other, the more likely we are to be loyal to each other.”
3. NEVER LOSE A CUSTOMER
"Ever since I was a teenager delivering newspapers (for seven straight years), I have tried not to lose a single customer. I treated each one like the most important person in the world and delivered each paper as if I were delivering it to the front door of the Governor´s mansion. The key to succeeding with a paper route and the restaurant business, I would later learn, is to take care of the customer. Whether on the paper route or in my restaurants, I have found that the most effective way of promoting my business didn´t cost me anything but a little kindness to my customers."??
4. PUT PRINCIPLES AND PEOPLE AHEAD OF PROFITS
"I´d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed. I have always encouraged my restaurant Operators and team members to give back to the local community. We should be about more than just selling chicken, we should be a part of our customer´s lives and the communities in which we serve."??
5. CLOSED ON SUNDAY
"I was not so committed to financial success that I was willing to abandon my principles and priorities. One of the most visible examples of this is our decision to close on Sunday. Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business."??
Read more at TruettCathy.com.