SOURCE: Chick-fil-A

May 22, 2006 09:03 ET

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue Proclaims May 23 'Truett Cathy Day'

Chick-fil-A Founder and Georgia Business Icon Celebrates 60 Years in the Restaurant Industry

ATLANTA, GA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 22, 2006 -- The state of Georgia honors one of its sons May 23. Restaurant industry icon Truett Cathy, founder and chairman of Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc., will be recognized for his contributions in business as well as community, with a state-wide day named in his honor. While he is perhaps best known as the inventor of the quick-service industry's first chicken sandwich, the original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, Cathy created a 60-year legacy that also includes his philanthropic efforts and the values he has been able to instill in young people.

Cathy will celebrate with friends, family and business associates at the original Dwarf House restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, Ga., where his restaurant career began. The Governor's office, business leaders and some of Cathy's oldest customers will be among the many who will pay tribute to Cathy for his leadership of Chick-fil-A and involvement in the community, a legacy that has helped shape the business landscape in the state of Georgia.

Cathy has long been considered a beloved businessman within the community, having received several awards and accolades from Georgia's civic, religious and business communities, as well as from members of the media over the years. Cathy has been named the 2006 "Atlanta Legend" from Business to Business Magazine, "Georgian of the Year" by the Georgia Broadcast Association and inducted into Georgia Trend Magazine's Most Influential Georgians Hall of Fame, just to name a few of his numerous recognitions. During this May celebration, Cathy will also receive a Phoenix Award from Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin in celebration of his 60-year tenure as a Georgia entrepreneur.

Cathy's success story is homegrown in Georgia, having begun his journey to success with a Coca-Cola stand in his front yard at eight years old. During his teen years his family, in desperate financial trouble, moved to downtown Atlanta's Techwood Homes, the country's first federally funded housing project. It was here that Cathy developed his customer-focused business philosophy, delivering the Atlanta Journal to residents. Cathy and his brother Ben open the Dwarf Grill (later named the Dwarf House) in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, and later a second location in nearby Forest Park. Helping to pioneer the nation's in-mall food service industry, Cathy, the innovator, opened the very first Chick-fil-A® restaurant in 1967 inside Atlanta's Greenbriar Shopping Center. After 38 straight years of consistent sales growth, the Chick-fil-A chain has evolved into a nearly $2 billion business operating in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

Still at the helm of the chain, the 85-year old patriarch of the Chick-fil-A brand has adapted to changes in American culture, the restaurant industry and the corporate environment, but has stayed true to the principles he held 60 years ago when he opened his first restaurant. Chick-fil-A remains a family-owned business that still adheres to its 60-year-old "Closed on Sunday" policy. With the recent opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Tampa, Fla. that is operated by Cathy's grandson, Andrew, the family's third generation continues the business values and tradition established by their grandfather.

"My dad set an example of making business decisions with moral values that we are proud to uphold," said Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A and oldest son of Truett Cathy. "Our corporate mission statement is to have a positive impact on those that come in contact with Chick-fil-A, and my dad continued this tradition through his actions over the past 60 years."

Cathy's example includes a dedication to young people that remains a core value for the company today. His WinShape Centre® Foundation, Chick-fil-A's corporate philanthropy, annually awards 20 to 30 students wishing to attend Berry College with scholarships up to $32,000 that are jointly funded by the Rome, Ga. institution. In addition, through its Leadership Scholarship Program, the Chick-fil-A chain has given more than $21 million dollars in $1,000 scholarships to Chick-fil-A restaurant employees since 1973.

As part of his WinShape Homes® program -- a long-term care program for foster children -- 14 foster care homes have been started in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Brazil that are operated by Cathy and the WinShape Foundation. Nearly 1,800 campers from throughout the country build self-esteem through physical and spiritual activities at WinShape® Camps every summer.

"Truett has truly been a pioneer in everything he does, from his creation of the Chick-fil-A sandwich and a thriving company to support it, to his value-based approach to running the business," said Sr. Vice President of Marketing, Steve Robinson. "His continued involvement in the business after 60 years, as well as his legacy of positive influences through his business, serves as a model to us all."

About Chick-fil-A Inc.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc., the nation's second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain (based on sales), currently has more than 1,250 restaurants in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Credited with inventing the chicken sandwich and first introducing the chicken nugget concept, Chick-fil-A serves nutritious and freshly prepared food products in malls, Free-Standing Units, Drive-Thru Only Restaurants, Chick-fil-A Dwarf House® and Truett's Grill® full-service restaurants, and through licensed outlets in college campuses, hospitals, airports, businesses and industrial sites. More information about Chick-fil-A is available on the chain's websites, located at www.chick-fil-a.com, www.chick-fil-apressroom.com or www.truettcathy.com.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Brenda Green
    Chick-fil-A, Inc.
    (404) 765-8064

    Elizabeth Moore/Allison Howard
    Cohn, Overstreet & Parrish
    (404) 961-2224/(404) 961-2222