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Chick-fil-A chairman to keynote upcoming family business conference

Posted in   |  April 21, 2022

Chick-fil-A Inc. chairman Dan Cathy will share his experience growing a family business at next week’s Prairie Family Business Association annual conference in Sioux Falls.

Cathy, who will speak via videoconferencing at the event April 28-29, served as CEO of the Atlanta-based fast-food chicken restaurant his father founded from 2013 until 2021 when he transitioned to board chair.

His son Andrew now serves as CEO.

“My dad grew Chick-fil-A in a thoughtful, strategic way,” Dan Cathy said. “He ensured our business maintained a corporate purpose rooted in timeless truths and principles while always pursuing a spirit of innovation and vision toward the future. Our family and our business have continued to take this approach.”

The company uses a franchise operator model, which allows it to partner with “entrepreneurs who are active in their local communities and remain committed to hands-on restaurant leadership, building the business by serving guests and nurturing team members,” he continued.

“As a multigenerational family business, we believe we’re well positioned to continue to grow and serve more guests through offering great food, genuine hospitality, remarkable service and a positive difference in our communities.”

Chick-fil-A was founded in by S. Truett Cathy in 1967, two decades after he’d opened his original diner, Dwarf Grill, which later was renamed Dwarf House.

Dan Cathy’s Chick-fil-A career began early. As a boy, he sang for customers and performed in radio ads for the chain’s original Dwarf House restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia.

Before becoming CEO, he was president and chief operating officer for 12 years. His earlier roles include senior director of operations, vice president of operations and executive vice president.

As chairman, Cathy now builds on his late father’s legacy by helping guide the business and supporting its executive leadership. His role includes leadership development, onboarding of new franchise operators and employees, and brand ambassadorship.

Chick-fil-A counts more than 2,600 restaurants in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada. Under Cathy’s leadership, it was named the top fast-food restaurant in Newsweek’s 2019 America’s Best Customer Service report.

Chick-fil-A also received multiple honors in QSR’s 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards, including “The Most Respected Quick-Service Brand” and “Best Brand for Overall Experience.” In 2020, Glassdoor named Chick-fil-A one of the 100 best places to work.

“There’s a lot that family businesses can learn from the Cathy family and the Chick-fil-A success story,” said Stephanie Larscheid, executive director of the Prairie Family Business Association.

“The restaurant industry is among the most challenging in business, so to grow from a mom-and-pop restaurant to a highly honored national chain while retaining a family business mindset and culture is rare and impressive.”

The Prairie Family Business Association annual conference is sold out for in-person attendance, but virtual tickets are still available. Click here to register.

Taste of Business

Want to experience the flavor of locally owned family food businesses while networking with other family businesses? There are limited tickets left for Taste of Family Business, held during the conference at 5:30 p.m. April 28.

With dishes prepared by Crave Food & Drink, it will feature the following family businesses:

  • Adee Honey Farms
  • Baker Boy
  • Cloverdale Foods
  • Coco-Cola Bottling Co. High Country
  • Hadrick Ranch
  • Jolly Time Pop Corn
  • Sling & Spear
  • Stensland Family Farms
  • Vanguard Hospitality

For information and to reserve your ticket, email or call 605-274-9530.