Dan Cathy, COO of Chick-Fil-A restaurants, spoke to students at the Storer Auditorium on Tuesday about his company’s history, the overall goal of his company and the general code by which he runs Chick-Fil-A.
Preceding the event, which was sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Club, was a reception where Chick-Fil-A chicken, fruit salad, brownies and lemonade were served. The reception also allowed students to interact with Cathy and his team.
“I think he is going to give us the history of Chick-Fil-A and kind of tell us his strategies so we can apply them in our lives and future businesses,” said Georgia Lee, a senior and management major during the reception.
The actual speech took place immediately following the and consisted of introductions from Marc Junkunc, an assistant professor at the School of Business and Kristin Depalma, the president of the Entrepreneurship Club. Students also viewed some of the commercials used in Chick-Fil-A’s ad campaign which centralizes around the motto promoted by “runaway cows”, “eat mor chikin.”
“We plan to milk the cow campaign until the cows come home,” Cathy said in his remarks.
Through out the speech Cathy kept the environment light, making use of his southern charm. After speaking briefly on the latest advertising campaign he spoke to the students about the decisions being made in their lives now.
“Choices and decisions you’re making right now do count,” he said. “Just make some great decisions.”
He recounted the history of Chick-Fil-A, founded by his father, Truett Cathy, after World War II.
“It really is the classic American success story,” he said after telling how his father started the restaurant with money he got from selling his only car.
Continuing through the history of the restaurant chain, he explained how shopping malls played an important role in the expansion of the company and how the first free-standing restaurant was finally opened in 1986. He also mentioned that now the chain has expanded to 38 states with a projected 1400 restaurants to be open and running by the end of this year.
What Cathy emphasized, however, was not just the business of making money, but promoting a positive environment for customers and employees alike.
“We are using our business to impact people’s lives,” he said. “We want to honor the lord in what we do.”
Chick-Fil-A restaurants are undergoing major changes in terms of both menu and environment and as was high lighted in Cathy’s speech there is a large emphasis being put on etiquette and style. The restaurants are undergoing changes where waiters and waitresses will seat customers, ask them if they want fresh ground pepper, and offer drink refills.
“There is a lot of money to be made in creating an experience for people, and that is what we are looking to do,” Cathy said.
Before moving on to the question and answer portion of the speech Cathy underlined what was important to the company.
“We want to glorify god in everything we do, and have a positive influence on everyone who comes in contact with Chick-Fil-A,” he said.
During the question and answer portion of the speech Cathy answered questions regarding promotion, growth and location.
At the end of the speech Cathy got a round of applause and was then presented with a gift from the Entrepreneurship Club while his team handed out stuffed cows bearing the motto “eat mor chikin.”
“I thought the presentation was very interesting. He is a very personable individual,” sophomore Jeanne Lyons, an advertising and English major, said.
Heather Colvin may be contacted at email@example.com.