SOURCE: Chick-fil-A

December 05, 2006 23:29 ET

Chick-fil-A Founder to Attend Dec. 6 Opening of Grandson's Stand-Alone Restaurant in San Marcos

Milestone Year for Founder Includes Seeing Third Generation Enter Family Business

SAN MARCOS, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 5, 2006 -- Chick-fil-A, Inc. Founder Truett Cathy, 85, celebrating his 60th year in the restaurant business, will attend a grand opening in California for the first time Dec. 6 when his grandson opens a stand-alone Chick-fil-A® restaurant in San Marcos.

Located at 587 Grand Avenue, the San Marcos Chick-fil-A restaurant is the second opening this year to have a third-generation Cathy member enter the family business. The celebration will include a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A® Combo Meals (52 coupons) being awarded to each of the first 100 adults, age 18 and older, in line with identification.

The line can begin forming up to 24 hours prior to the opening, with the prizes being awarded on Dec. 6 sometime between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. The restaurant will be open for business immediately following the event starting with a full breakfast menu.

Those who line up to receive a one-year supply will also have a chance to meet several Cathy family members who will be in town for the opening. All three of Truett's children will be attending the opening including Mark's father, Bubba Cathy, who is senior vice president of Chick-fil-A, Inc.; Mark's uncle, Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, Inc., whose son Andrew opened his first restaurant in January; and aunt Trudy Cathy White.

"When you look at statistics, 80 to 90 percent of the 24 million U.S. companies are family owned or managed, and of those, only 40 percent survive to the second generation and only 12 percent to the third generation," said Truett Cathy, who is credited with inventing the award-winning boneless breast of chicken sandwich.

"Seeing the first two grandchildren to enter the business in the same year that I am celebrating the 60th anniversary of the opening of my first restaurant has brought comfort to me that the future of Chick-fil-A will continue to be strong with our third generation," he said.

A University of Georgia graduate in business management, Mark's experience in the hospitality field also includes working at the prestigious Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach. He will be assisted in the business by his wife Amy, who will be functioning as the restaurant's assistant manager.

"I have been raised on my grandfather's philosophy -- put people first and everything else will fall into place," said Mark. "Coupling that foundation with the 'best practices' I've gleaned from working with other companies, I'm excited to continue Chick-fil-A's reputation for serving the freshest food possible with the highest level of customer service."

The new Chick-fil-A restaurant in San Marcos is the second to open in less than five weeks in the market and the fourth to open since 2004 when Chula Vista opened to record-breaking sales. The aggressive California expansion began in January 2004 with the opening of the state's first stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant in Chino Hills. Chick-fil-A currently has 20 restaurants in California with plans for as many as 10 additional restaurants in the state in 2007. Many of these openings are converted former Krispy Kreme locations that provide a win-win situation for the area economy and Chick-fil-A.

The interior warm colors and wood accents of the new San Marcos Chick-fil-A create a casual dining atmosphere that customers will appreciate, along with the conveniences of drive-thru service. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will include a full breakfast menu along with lunch and dinner. The restaurant is closed on Sunday to provide an opportunity for employees to spend time with their families or to worship if they choose -- a policy that was established with the opening of Truett's first restaurant 60 years ago.

QSR Magazine recently released its scores for the Best Drive-Thru in America Survey with the Chick-fil-A chain's overall composite scores placing it in the lead -- four out of the past five years that the chain has earned top rankings. Consumers indicated that accuracy and speed were some of the most important performance areas. Chick-fil-A was first in the accuracy category with a 98 percent score; and despite Chick-fil-A adding four flavors of handspun milkshakes to its menu in May, the chain continued to show strong individual car speeds in the drive-thru with an average time of 44 seconds.

Truett kicked off his milestone year in January with the first of the family's third generation entering the business with Andrew Cathy opening a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Fla. In May, Truett celebrated the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Dwarf Grill from which the Chick-fil-A chain was launched. Today, Truett saw his chain reach $2 billion in sales for the first time.

Chick-fil-A is the nation's second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain with more than 1,285 restaurants in 37 states and Washington D.C. The company reported 2005 sales of more than $1.975 billion, a 13.1 percent increase over 2004. For more information, visit or

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    Chick-fil-A, Inc.
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