President of Chick-fil-A Speaks at APU

by Nina Karim, '10

On Thursday, April 29, APU's School of Business and Management and the Scholars for Business Achievement hosted Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy in the Wilden Atrium. He spoke to students and guests about how he reached the position he is in today, basic etiquette and respect principles, and the importance of customer service in his lecture, "It's a Pleasure to Serve You."

Cathy's nearly lifelong career at Chick-fil-A began at age nine as he sang songs for customers and did radio commercials for the chain’s original "Dwarf House" restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. After receiving his B.S. in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University, he returned to Chick-fil-A where he served as director of operations – opening more than 50 new Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country.

College Park, Georgia-based Chick-fil-A is the second-largest chicken-based fast-food chain in the United States (behind Kentucky Fried Chicken). As Chick-fil-A continued to grow, so did Cathy’s responsibilities. He has served as senior director of operations, vice president of operations and executive vice president prior to being named president and chief operating officer. Cathy describes the corporate purpose of Chick-fil-A as the following: "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that's entrusted to us and have a positive influence with all that come in contact with Chick-fil-A."

Cathy recognizes the importance of doing little things out of respect for customers such as fresh flowers on the tables or saying “my pleasure” rather than “you’re welcome” when thanked for service. This exceptional service and humility has become what Chick-fil-A is known for.

"The Dan Cathy event was highly anticipated on campus," said Kasaundra Domen, senior marketing major. "The Cathy family has truly mastered what we call 'faith integration' at APU, and they have implemented it into their lifestyle at Chick-fil-A. They are amazing stewards of what God has given them and they actively reap their harvest on the mission field to which they have been called. Dan Cathy is not afraid to go the second mile and he is eager to share his destiny with all those he comes in contact with. What an example of a true leader!"

Matthew 5:41 has become the trademark verse for Chick-fil-A and has encouraged employees to always go the second mile in their service. "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."