I have an addiction. It isn’t one that I normally want to talk about. As with any addiction, it carries a certain amount of shame. I don’t know exactly when it started, I only know that I can no longer deny it. I’m addicted to Chick-fil-A!
It’s time for those cows to “mooooooooooooooooove” (not a typo; an intentional expression) on over to make room for someone who agrees with them. We should all definitely “Eat More Chicken.” Not only is chicken better for us, health wise, than those beef burgers, but the company also represents some of the best things about free enterprise in America. They stand out from the pack because they actually seem to value their customers. What a weird concept that is.
This year Chick-fil-A celebrates its 40th anniversary and it shows no signs of slowing down. That is partly due to its excellent food quality and partly due to the general care that they take in hiring good employees who treat customers with dignity and respect.
This might have something to do with the background of the company’s founder S. Truett Cathy. He is a self-proclaimed Christian who believes in practicing what he preaches. While other companies continue to remain open on Sunday’s, Chick-fil-A refuses to give in to the trend. Cathy believes that Sundays are a time for God and family; not for making money.
Values have always important to Cathy who in 1946 decided to open a small restaurant in an Atlanta suburb. His idea was relatively simple. He wanted to make a really great chicken sandwich. He did and the rest is, as they say, is history.
In fact, many credit Cathy with the invention of the chicken sandwich. That belief spawned the company’s current slogan: “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” And what a sandwich it is. Pressured cooked in peanut oil, the perfectly cooked chicken comes out crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside, to make a scrumptious sandwich in a short amount of time. Oddly enough, it still comes with just two pickles, which were the only condiments that Cathy had on hand when the sandwich was initially created.
That sandwich is still the standard on an ever growing menu of products that now also includes grilled chicken, chicken nuggets and strips, chicken wraps, waffle fries, vegetable and fruit salads, breakfast biscuits, bacon, sausage, and eggs as well as cinnamon clusters, brownies, ice cream, and shakes.
In 1967, the very first Chick-fil-A was opened in an Atlanta mall. Now, over 40 years later, there are hundreds of Chick-fil-A’s all over the United States. Although originally associated primarily with malls, the restaurant now has many stand alone eateries as well as kiosks in airports and town centers.
As the company grew, so its desire to give back to the communities that supported it. Chick-fil-A sponsors a wide variety of programs, projects and events. One of their main focuses is on children. They sponsor character-building programs for children, scholarships, and foster home placement.
Through a private foundation, they also support religious organizations like Focus on Family and faith-based toys for like Veggie Tales, books like Financial Peace for Kids and radio programs like Adventures in Odyssey. They pour foundation money into a variety of other programs as well. These include, but are not limited to: Athletes in Action, All Pro Dad, and Family First.
In 1997, the company began sponsoring the Peach Bowl, which was officially renamed the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2006. It also sponsors several other athletic programs like SEC, ACC, and the Big 12 conference.
In a time when many businesses are concerned about nothing more than their bottom line, Chick-fil-A declares a focus on their people, in general, and children, in particular. They put money back into the community in an effort to strength faith, family, and good old American know-how and competition. I find that remarkably refreshing.
I guess if I must have an addiction, there are certainly worse ones to have. So I think I’ll continue to foster my love for those fabulous chicken sandwiches, knowing all the while that my money is in good hands.