There aren’t many companies like Chick-fil-A. Most U.S. companies struggle to balance ambitious financial objectives with the desire to be ethical in business dealings and demonstrate a social conscience. Chick-fil-A easily surpasses industry norms for financial performance and eagerly embraces and protects a corporate culture rich with religious values and charity. The contrast is striking to most observers. Yet the Chick-fil-A phenomenon is easily understood when you study its entrepreneurial heritage. S. Truett Cathy, founder, chairman, and CEO of Chick-fil-A started his restaurant career in 1946 when he and his brother Ben opened a restaurant in Atlanta called the Dwarf Grill (renamed the Dwarf House two years later). It was not until 1967 that Cathy opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Shopping Center. He is credited with introducing the original boneless breast of chicken sandwich and pioneering the placement of fast-food restaurants in shopping malls. Today, Chick-fil-A is the second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States, based on sales ($1.975 billion in 2005). It operates more than 1,250 restaurants in 37 states and Washington, D.C.
Chick-fil-A’s unique corporate culture derives from Cathy’s Christian background and his desire to inspire and influence people. The company’s official statement of corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of