"I work in customer service"
- Dan on "second-mile" service
As CEO of one of the nation's largest family owned businesses, Chick-fil-A's Dan
Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the Atlanta-based fast-food chicken restaurant chain
founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy. Eager to incorporate his own skills and talents into the business, Dan
has taken an unconventional, yet personally and professionally rewarding approach to
Dan was named Chairman, President and CEO, by his father in 2013. Since 2001, Dan has served as the president
and chief operating officer of the 1,900-plus unit chain, but he also has personally challenged himself with
upholding Chick-fil-A's efforts to provide genuine, heartfelt hospitality, and
ensuring that customers chain wide have an exceptional dining experience when visiting a
Chick-fil-A restaurant. In his quest to provide customers with
"second-mile" service (exceeding even the highest expectations of a typical fast-food restaurant), Dan
has defined a special role for himself – humbly saying, "I work in customer service."
Rather than leading from his corporate office in Atlanta, Dan chooses to spend the majority of his time
traveling to the chain's growing family of restaurants and interacting with
Chick-fil-A's committed team of restaurant Operators and team members. His actions
stem from a belief that working in the field provides a clearer understanding of the ever evolving wants and
needs of Chick-fil-A customers, and leading from the front line also enables him to
personally convey his servant spirit to the chain's 70,000-plus employees.
The majority of his travels include participating in grand opening ceremonies for new
Chick-fil-A restaurants. In yet another example of how he keeps in tune with
customers and employees, Dan attended numerous restaurant openings last year, spending the night in restaurant
parking lots along with hundreds of customers who were vying for a chance to win free
Chick-fil-A food for a year as part of a special customer-focused promotion the
chain conducts in conjunction with new restaurant openings. Reflecting on these experiences, Dan notes,
"I'm having the most fun I have ever had at Chick-fil-A."
Several major marketplace awards have affirmed the commitment and performance of
Chick-fil-A Operators and team members. Chick-fil-A
was recognized in 2015 with the "Consumer's Choice Award" for pleasant and friendly service by
Technomic's survey of 85,000 consumers and leader of the fast food industry in Temkin's 2015 Customer Experience
Survey. In the 2014 Glassdoor Employee's Choice Awards, Chick-fil-A ranked among
the top 50 Best Places to Work in the nation. Forbes also ranked Chick-fil-A as the
4th most inspiring company in the country following a survey of more than 2,000 consumers evaluating 25 companies.
Dan's career at Chick-fil-A began at age 9 as he sang songs for customers and did
radio commercials for the chain's original "Dwarf House" restaurant in Hapeville, Ga.
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University, Dan
returned to Chick-fil-A where he served as director of operations – opening more
than 50 new Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country.
As Chick-fil-A continued to grow, so did Dan's responsibilities with the company. He
has served as senior director of operations, vice president of operations and executive vice president prior to
being named president and chief operating officer.
As dedicated to Chick-fil-A as he is, Dan also finds time to give generously of his
time and efforts in the community. Following is just a partial list of his awards, affiliations and associations:
Member, Atlanta Committee for Progress
Honorary Member (2012), Berry Alumni Association
Member, Board of Trustees, Morehouse College
Member, Board of Advisors, Eagle Ranch
Member, Board of Advisors, Advisory Board, Global Teen Challenge
Executive Member, National Advisory Board, Lead Like Jesus
Member, Board of Councilors, The Carter Center
Member, The New Hope Baptist Church (and trumpet player in the church band)
Sunday School Teacher, 12th Grade Boys - Youth teacher for (40) years
Member, Metro Atlanta Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce
Member, The Jenkins Clinic, Board of Directors, Vice Chairman
Advisory Board, Heritage Preparatory School
Recipient of the Outstanding American Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame - 2003
Recipient of the Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award - 2013
Recipient of the Champion of Community Empowerment Award - Urban League of Greater Atlanta - 2013
Recipient of Passkeys Foundation Leaders of Integrity Awards, American Life: Business - 2014
Honorary Doctorate Degree from the State University of West Georgia, Anderson College and Carver Bible College
Honorary Doctorate of Humanities Degree from Anderson College - 2005
Honorary Doctorate from HBCA Entrepreneur Summit
Honorary Doctorate, Law Degree, Pepperdine University - 2011
And in his "spare" time, Dan earned his Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license and has completed
numerous marathons in Atlanta, Orlando, Los Angeles, Boston and New York. Additionally, Dan is a passionate
trumpet player, gardener and an avid motorcyclist.
A native of Jonesboro, Ga., Dan has been married to the former Rhonda Palmer (whom he met while in the 1st grade
at age 6) for more than 40 years. He has two sons, Andrew, Vice President of People at
Chick-fil-A and Ross, Owner/Operator of the Midland, Ga.,
Chick-fil-A restaurant, as well as two grandchildren.
His personal passion is to see the fulfillment of the Chick-fil-A Corporate
Purpose: "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."