As president of one of the nation’s largest family owned businesses, Dan Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based quickservice chicken restaurant chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy. Eager to incorporate his own skills and talents into the business, Dan has taken an unconventional, yet personally and professionally rewarding approach to Chick-fil-A leadership.
Since 2001, Dan has served as the president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc., and he has personally challenged himself with upholding Chick-fil-A’s efforts to provide genuine, heartfelt hospitality, and ensuring that customers have an exceptional dining experience when visiting a Chick-fil-A Restaurant. In his quest to provide customers with “2nd Mile Service” (exceeding even the highest expectations of a typical fast-food restaurant), Dan has defined a special role for himself – humbly saying, “I work in customer service.”
Rather than leading from his corporate office in Atlanta, Dan chooses to spend the majority of his time traveling to the chain’s growing family of Restaurants and interacting with Chick-fil-A’s committed team of Restaurant Operators and team members. His actions stem from a belief that working in the field provides a clearer understanding of the ever-evolving wants and needs of Chick-fil-A customers, and leading from the front line also enables him to personally convey his servant spirit across the chain.
The majority of his travels include participating in Grand Opening ceremonies for new Chick-fil-A Restaurants. In yet another example of how he keeps in tune with customers and employees, Dan attended numerous Restaurant openings last year, spending the night in Restaurant parking lots along with hundreds of customers who were vying for a chance to win free Chick-fil-A food for a year as part of a special customer-focused promotion the chain conducts in conjunction with new Restaurant openings. Reflecting on these experiences, Dan notes, “I’m having the most fun I have ever had at Chick-fil-A.”Four major marketplace awards recently have affirmed the commitment and performance of Chick-fil-A Operators and team members. In 2006 Chick-fil-A received Restaurant & Institutions magazine’s “Choice in Chains” award for the 12th time in 13 years. Additionally, in 2004, Chick-fil-A was recognized as the “Best Drive-Thru in America” in QSR Magazine’s Drive-Thru Time Study; was honored with Fast Company magazine’s inaugural “Customer First” award; and was the highest rated quick-service chain in the South in J.D. Power and Associate’s Customer Satisfaction survey.
Dan’s nearly lifelong career at Chick-fil-A began at age nine as he sang songs for customers and radio commercials for the chain’s “Dwarf House®” Restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia.