TruettCathy and Christian Values in Operations Decisions
TruettCathy and Christian Values in Operations Decisions
Whenstarting a business, it is expected that it will adopt a cultureintroduced by the proprietor. This concept rings true in Chick-fil-Arestaurant owned and established by Truett Cathy. Cathy opened hisfirst café, Dwarf Grill, in Hapeville, Georgia in 1946. Thisrestaurant became the mother of today’s Chick-fil-A (CFA). Cathywas prominent in preparing boneless sandwiches using chicken breast.Besides being the proud owner of the ever-growing chain ofrestaurants, Truett Cathy lived up to his Christian values andbeliefs. He used his position in business to promote the culture ofChristianity and even integrated that culture into the moral andethical structure of CFA. “I had given Chick-fil-A to God” is aquote by Mr. Cathy and it put his character in perspective. Even inhis biography, Mr. Cathy acknowledged that despite running the chainof restaurants with his staff, it was God’s business.
CFAoriginated from the Dwarf House chain of restaurants established byMr. Cathy in Georgia. Mr. Cathy was an entrepreneur and an activemember of the Southern Baptist faith. In 1961, he came up with theidea of cooking chicken breast using a pressure fryer. The ideabrought him success and marked the tipping point of his business andthat is when he registered Chick-fil-A Inc.
Fortwo decades, CFA experienced tremendous growth but came to the blinkof a crisis in 1982 due to a decline in sales purported to resultfrom the entry of other restaurants in the market and the high costof the chicken breast during that time (Emerson& Parnell, 2014).The firm had just shifted into a new multimillion headquarters inAtlanta, and a dip in revenues was certainly affecting it. At thistime, Cathy met the company executives to lay down strategies thatwould help the company maintain its profitability. The outcome ofthis meeting was a corporate resolution to glorify God for Hisfaithfulness to them and to instill a positive effect on people whowent to Chick-fil-A (Mishler,2012).
Mr.Cathy`s chain of restaurants pioneered the use of unconventional waysto enhance expansion and growth. This is because, between the 1960sand the late 1980s, CFA restaurants were only located in food courtsat shopping malls and gallerias in suburban areas in the south(Emerson& Parnell, 2014).In the late 1980s, the first freestanding CFA restaurant opened inthe metro Atlanta region. This marked the adoption of a new expansionpolicy, which saw the opening of multiple CFA restaurants in thesouthern cities across States. The background of this company is adirect product of carefully planned and implemented expansionstrategies coupled with excellent customer service, which has enabledit to establish a large pool of loyal customers.
Bythe beginning of 2016, the company owned almost 2000 restaurantsacross the United States. Businesses interested in operating as CFAfranchises are required to pay an initial fee of 10,000 dollars. Thefranchise applications received each year exceed 2000, and only 60-70of them are selected (Emerson& Parnell, 2014).The selection process is based on the candidates’ ability to upholdthe strong Christian values embedded in the company’s culture,rather than financial capacities. Besides, the prospective franchisecandidates must be able to uphold CFA`s mission. As such, CFA`sChristian culture along with it marketing efforts and engagement incommunity activities rank it among the leading restaurants in theworld.
Theorganizational culture of Chick-fil-A embraces the view thatemployees are dear and should be treated in a dignified manner thatfosters respect and gratitude for their time and services. Just likein the various readings for this course, CFA upholds the idea thatemployees are a vital part of any organization and should be accordedthe necessary care. CFA encourages employees to become the best intheir jobs and offers a variety of avenues to promote and reward hardwork. A considerable number of CFA operators today were onceemployees who were motivated until they reached to their statuses.Another way that Cathy upheld taking care of employees in his companywas through better pay. The fast-food industry is subject to manycritics due to poor pay. Despite this norm, Mr. Cathy ensured thatthe least paid CFA employee earns slightly above the minimum wage,while experienced employees earn a little more than the newbies(Mishler,2012).The company also provides health insurance and retirement plans forsome of its employees depending on the duration that one has been inthe company.
Moreover,Mr. Cathy desired to provide the best service to his customers. Thisrequired well-trained employees who are their best. Therefore, thecompany offers an intensive training program to its employees toensure that they have the knowledge to handle various operations inthe company. Through this training program, CFA manages to reduceemployee turnover and issues of stress at work are eliminated, whichcreates a stable working environment. The company’s employees enjoyworking because they have flexible working schedules andopportunities to advance their careers are guaranteed. In the articleTheImportance of Employee Satisfaction,Kristen Gregory notes that happiness at work enhances employees’productivity levels because it boosts their drive to work harder(Gregory,2010).Other related studies indicate that organizations with satisfiedemployees have more customer ratings, less employee turnover, higherprofitability and better records in safety.
Mr.Cathy opened the restaurants for business to make money. However,despite his company`s profit motive, he recognized that it was God`swork and therefore, took it seriously. He was able to instill thesame reasoning to his employees, and everyone upholds that ideal inthe company today. Mr. Cathy was never blinded by his needs, but helooked after the needs of his employees. Philippians 2:3-4 emphasizesthe need to be selfless by looking after other people and lettingtheir needs come before the individual needs. Mr. Cathy was able toput the needs of his employees before those of his company (Mishler,2012).This has been a major factor in the continued success of CFA. Byshowing the employees that he cared for their needs more than hisbusiness, he was able to build trust, which helped him gain theirloyalty and hard work.
Sincethe establishment of CFA, Mr. Cathy was a generous giver to charityand the less-privileged people in the community. In the last fiveyears, CFA and its franchised operators have donated over than 100million dollars to over 500 charity foundations and provided millionsworth of food in America (Blanchard& Cathy, 2009).CFA runs WinShape charity organization, which funds college educationthrough scholarships. Truett Cathy once said that everyone has thechance to give something in the form of time, love, and resources toanother person (Steger,2012).He claimed to feel joyful when giving, especially when he did it freewithout anything in return.
Accordingto Hebrews 13:16, one should always do well to other people and sharewith them because God is pleased with such deeds. This means thatpeople with more resources or those who are blessed more should helpthose who have less or nothing. Mr. Cathy’s CFA embodied thisbiblical principle in all its operations and despite his demise, theorganization still maintains that value.
Valuefor worship and family
Throughouthis life, Mr. Cathy believed in listening to the customer,emphasizing on quality and aiming to get better before going bigger.The restaurant chain has undergone massive transformation since its1995 campaign “Eat Mor Chikin.” Since the opening of the firstrestaurant, Mr. Cathy demonstrated great value for family and worshipof God. CFAs close on Sundays, a policy introduced by Cathy when heopened his first café in 1946. According to Cathy, his decision toclose on Sundays was both practical and spiritual (Steger,2012).He believed that the employees and franchised CFA operators areentitled to a resting opportunity during which they could stay withtheir families and friends, and perhaps worship if they decided to doso. According to Cathy, resting on Sundays gave the employees time totake their minds off work, relax and reflect on the previous andforthcoming week at work. This was a recipe for the success of CFA.From the book of Genesis 2:3, after God finished creating theuniverse and human beings, he stopped working, blessed the seventhday, and declared it special to rest. This teaching is practical inChick-fil-A as intended by Truett Cathy.
Influenceon organizational culture
Chick-fil-Atakes a great commitment to ensuring that its employees becomesuccessful in their future. Mr. Cathy was a humble man who showed nosign of arrogance in himself. He was humble with a fullness ofhumility and interacted cordially with employees despite their ranks.He could pay attention to their complaints and listened to understandtheir needs because he knew that it was his duty to make them feelvalued
Theleadership style introduced by Truett Cathy in his restaurant chainlives on until today. His firm Christian values and beliefs enabledhis company to expand and to gain fame among consumers (Steger,2012).Through his leadership, CFA`s employees love their work, which isevident through the high profitability and a large number offranchise applications. The reason behind this success is theemployees who give their best to maintain the status of the companythat employs them. For this to be possible, it means the company putsits employees` needs first and takes good care of them. The companyoffers training to its employees to make them better in theirrespective areas. It also encourages them to work hard to for betterresults and gives them flexible working schedules and fair pay. Therecognition of the employees` need to rest and spend time with familyand friends, and to worship on Sunday is also a great source of theirgood spirit and commitment at work.
Inaddition, CFA`s charitable course to its employees and the communityis a culture whose scope is limited in other organizations. Since1946, Cathy cultivated an organizational culture where employeesreceived fair and equal treatment, which propelled the company togreater heights with employees climbing the career ladder (Blanchard& Cathy, 2009).Treating employees with dignity and respect has translated into goodcustomer service by the employees because they feel that they alsogive back the good treatment that they are accorded at work.
Lessonsto learn from Cathy’s Christian values
TruettCathy`s Chick-fil-A is a company that has expanded and grown to meanmore than just its menu to the customers. Besides providing deliciousfood, CFA has imparted a significant amount of social consciousnessand charity work through its good deeds to employees, the communityand regard for God. Through CFA, Mr. Cathy, and his family have madea difference in the lives of thousands of people who may not have hadthe chance (Steger,2012).This is evident through the low franchise fee of 10,000 dollars,which the multi-billon firm charges to potential operators of CFAstorefronts. The efforts made by the company management to improvethe lives of its employees are boundless, and they affirm theobligation placed upon all Christian believers in Deuteronomy 15:11,requiring them to help the poor and the needy.
TruettCathy`s firm Christian values made him make a great leap in hisbusiness from one store to thousands. Throughout his businessoperations, Mr. Cathy put God first and made moves that wereconsistent with biblical teachings. His organization`s cultureembraced and continued to embrace Godliness through ways such ashelping the needy, treating employees fairly, equally, with respect,paying them well and closing on Sunday for them to worship and spendtime with their families. In return, this translated to hard work andeventually higher productivity, profitably and massive expansion ofCFA. Moreover, he was generous in that he gave to the needy in thecommunity, a practice that CFA still upholds today. Therefore, Mr.Cathy`s Christian legacy at work lives on, and it is a confirmationthat putting God first and doing his will is never in vain.
TruettCathy’s case study gives insight on the importance of upholdingChristian values in one’s life. Since Cathy started his business,he strongly maintained the Christian values he learned, besides beingan active member in church. Cathy believed that his business wasGod’s and he was supposed to use it to reach out to other people.As the owner of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy took care of his employees,helped the needy, and demonstrated value for family and worship.
Sincethe establishment of his first restaurant, Cathy put God first bymaking decisions such as closing on Sundays to set worship timeaside. He also did this to give his employees time to do something oftheir choice with their families. Again, Cathy helped the needy inthe society and his company still contributes to charity through theWinShape foundation to fund education for underprivileged students.Moreover, he committed himself to valuing and taking care of hisemployees through fair pay, training and listening to their needs.This was made possible through his humble and sociable personality.
Therefore,this topic reinforces the importance of living up to the teachings ofthe Bible from various perspectives. Through his commitment to upholdChristian values and to impact on the lives of people whom he workedwith, Truett Cathy’s business expanded to become a renowned brand.This is a call to Christians to conserve the basic Christian valuesthat the Bible teaches and to live in humility. These principlesinclude helping or sharing with the poor, doing good deeds to otherpeople and putting God first in everything. This includes setting thelast day of the week aside for worship just as God did when hecreated the universe.
Blanchard,K. H., & Cathy, S. T. (2009). TheGenerosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, andTreasure.Zondervan.
Emerson,R. W., & Parnell, J. R. (2014). Franchise Hostages: Fast Food,God, and Politics. Journalof Law and Politics, 19(353),353-396.
Gregory,K. (2010). TheImportance of Employee Satisfaction.Retrieved April 16, 2016, fromNeumannEducation:https://www.neumann.edu/academics/divisions/business/journal/Review2011/Gregory.pdf
Mishler,M. (2012). Eat More Chicken and Lead More People: Perceived Measuresof Servant Leadership at Chick-fil-A.
Steger,M. F. (2012). SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP. Psychologyof Religion and Workplace Spirituality,223.
TheHoly Bible (New Living Translation)