Chick-Fil-A was started in 1946, when S.Truett Cathy opened his first chicken outlet in Hapeville, Georgia. It was called the Dwarf Grill, so named because it had a dwarf-sized front door that children could enter through. 2014 marked the sixty-eighth year that founder S. Truett Cathy was in the restaurant business. He passed away on September, 8, 2014, at the age of 93. A devout Christian man who taught Sunday school for over fifty-one years, his religious beliefs permeate the company to this day.
His world famous chicken sandwiches are now sold in more than nineteen hundred Chick-Fil-A restaurants in thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C., making it the largest fast food chicken restaurant chain in the country. In 2014 the company’s annual sales were nearly $6 billion! Chick-fil-a is still privately held and family owned.
The corporate purpose statement shows the heart of the company and says that the business exists "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” Cathy always emphasized the importance of responsibility and integrity in the workplace and in the home. He considered cohesion in the family to be of upmost important and sponsored seminars geared toward the family.
Truett Cathy established the company's first scholarship program in 1973 to encourage Chick-fil-A restaurant employees to further their education. The company has earmarked a portion of its proceeds to give back to its team members in the form of college scholarships. Over the past 40 years, Chick-fil-A has provided more than $30 million in Leadership Scholarships for more than 30,000 restaurant team members who have attended more than 3,100 colleges, universities, and other educational institutions.
Besides the scholarship program, the company also has a foundation that sponsors a boys and girls camp. The WinShape Center Foundation has built several foster homes in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Brazil. The WinShape Family Centre provides the setting for marital conferences and retreats for entire families. The company has provided a Bible for every school located in the state of Georgia.
Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cathy was quoted, “Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and directing our attention to things more important than our business. If it took seven days to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work. Through the years I have never wavered from that position.”