Philanthropy Magazine recently published John Miller's profile of Chick-Fil-A's founder, S. Truett Cathy. Here's an excerpt:
For six days a week, the restaurant was open 24 hours a day. From the start, however, it closed on Sunday. It was the brothers' way of honoring God. Moreover, they were exhausted from working long hours Monday through Saturday. "If it took seven days a week to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work," says Cathy. To this day, Cathy regards this as the best business decision he ever made. Chick-fil-A still abides by it. Although Sunday is a popular day for eating out, none of the company's restaurants are open. "I find no conflict between biblical principles and good business practices," says Cathy. Besides, the policy gives him a chance to scope out the competition. "I generally eat out on Sunday," he admits. "We go to the drive-thru after church. I won't mention where." Some people feel a call to be preachers. Cathy says he feels likewise summoned to his line of work: "I see the restaurant business as a divine calling that fills physical, emotional, and spiritual needs." With his employees, he emphasizes the importance of faith. "I'm a strong believer that the Bible is a roadmap for life," he says. "How to start a restaurant isn't written down in there, but we do have the Golden Rule. At Chick-fil-A, we are motivated by a serving spirit. We can compete with the toughest competition simply because of the kindness of our people." When customers say, "Thank you," team members are encouraged to respond, "My pleasure." Cathy insists that developing these habits makes an enormous difference. "It doesn't cost you any more to be gracious in a service industry, but it sure pays great dividends," he says.