“It all started with a man named Truett Cathy, a restaurant called The Dwarf Grill and the Original Chicken Sandwich.”
Across the country, when fried chicken sandwiches come to mind, the thought tends to be accompanied by a bright red Chick-fil-A logo named Doodles.
Chick-fil-A is a name recognizable throughout the nation, with nearly 1,900 restaurants in 41 states and the District of Columbia. But just how much do you really know about originators of fast food outside the burger box?
The Christian company’s journey first began in 1946 as a diner in Hapeville, Georgia, called The Dwarf Grill (later changed to Dwarf House). Dwarf House ultimately became its own chain, and 11 Chick-fil-A Dwarf Houses still exist today in the Metro Atlanta area.
A staple in the south, bone-in fried chicken was nothing new at the time. But founder Truett Cathy began to experiment with frying boneless skinless chicken breasts traditional fried-chicken style, and by the 1960s, he’d come across a pressure fryer that rivaled the cooking times of popular fast food burger joints.
In 1967, the first official Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in the Georgia Greenbriar Mall in a suburb of Atlanta. It wasn’t until nearly 20 years later in 1986 that the success of the business allowed them to move out of the mall and open the first stand-alone restaurant on North Druid Hills Road in Atlanta.
Today, the chain has fully embraced the fast-food service model in many locations, and 32 of them are specifically drive-thru only spots.
Also, Chick-fil-A’s franchising model is incredibly unique. Most fast food franchise owners pay nearly $2 million to open a new location, but at Chick-fil-A, it only costs $10,000 — and they don’t require applicants to meet a minimum net worth or amount of assets. Of course, this means thousands of applications are received every year, so only about 5 percent make the cut.
But even if you don’t get the chance to own a new location, be on the lookout for when one is about to open up, because the first 100 customers at any new location are awarded free Chick-fil-A for a year.
Throughout the early years of the company’s success, Cathy made sure to never lose sight of the importance of religion in his life. The chain is as well known for it’s Christian beliefs today as it was when it began.
“Truett Cathy demonstrated that the lordship of Christ is about the whole of life,” said Russell Moore, the president of Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “He modeled integrity, hard work and compassion. The ‘closed on Sundays’ sign on his stores is a countercultural statement that man does not live by bread alone, and there is more to life than a bottom line.”
And if you didn’t know exactly why the chain is still closed on Sundays to this day, it’s to allow for everyone to attend religious services and to spend quality time with family.
Cathy’s devotion to his faith clearly lives on today as his company and their employees continue to make waves for all of the right reasons — just check out stories like why they recently broke their “Closed on Sundays” rule and see for yourselves.
How many of these Chick-fil-A facts did you know?
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