Dan T. Cathy Group# 1: Haley Ross, Amanda Greenfield, Shannon Rutledge, Abigail Ball, Katie Winemiller, Evan Meeko

“Selfless, servant leadership is about action, and the bottom line is that what we say and what we believe will only be as effective as what we are also willing to do.”

  • CEO and Chairman of Chick-fil-A
  • BS in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University and honorary Doctorates
  • Senior Director of Operations, Vice President of Operations and Executive Vice President
  • Humanitarian of the Year (2002)
  • Ranked 5th in 2014 as one of the "50 most powerful people in the food service business" by Nation's Restaurant News.
  • Married to his wife, Rhonda
  • Two kids
  • Moo Cow Bikers
  • Trumpet Player
  • Gardener

Servant Leadership

"To Cathy, service is not just something he does; it’s something he lives. Service is helping. Service is smiling. Service is a handshake. It’s the Golden Rule. From helping mothers with children to their tables, to refreshing a guest’s beverage, to a very simple, but meaningful “my pleasure,” Dan believes that every moment of every day is another opportunity to encourage and bring happiness to others by serving them well."

  • Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional in 2012
  • Cathy sent out tweets criticizing the Act which received backlash and even boycotts of franchises
  • Later the tweets were deleted and Cathy regretted putting his organization in the middle of the marriage debate

Cathy admitted his anti-equality stance probably wasn’t a wise business decision, regretting “making the company a symbol in the marriage debate

Pulse Nightclub shooting

Chick-fil-a went to work on a Sunday to bring food to those that were donating blood.

Guiding Principles

  • “Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by (recognizing) the mistakes that you make,” Cathy said. “And you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.”
  • 4.9 million dollars in scholarships for the year of 2017 alone for the purpose of aiding “team members” in gaining higher education (“Chick-fil-A Doubles Investment”, 2016)
  • They support military personnel as well as police officers by offering free meals and discounts.
  • They are also hire veterans
  • Seven of the twenty-three restaurant owners in the Jacksonville, Florida area alone had previously served in the military (Fisher, 2016)

Industry Leader

  • The organization’s success has not been harmed by Cathy’s more conservative principles and beliefs (Exceeded top competitor KFC)
  • Every restaurant maintains a high level of cleanliness and an attitude of service.
  • “Cleanliness and order accuracy” is the “first mile” according to Cathy, the second mile “exceeds expectations” (Ruggless, 2014)

Organizational Application

  • Personal Beliefs can get mistaken for company beliefs
  • “Consumers want to do business with brands that they can interface with, that they can relate with,” Cathy said. “And it’s probably very wise from our standpoint to make sure that we present our brand in a compelling way that the consumer can relate to.”
  • Personal, Biblically-based values should interact with our businesses, but accept that conflict can occur.

Team Application

  • Implications of Dan Cathy’s approach to business ethics
  • “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
  • “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

How would you approach this ethical situation if you were in the same position as Cathy?

Do you agree that it was a mistake with how he approached it?


1)Article on Leadership Interview with Dan Cathy: O'Connor, C. (2014, March 19). Chick-fil-A CEO Cathy: Gay Marriage Still Wrong, But I'll Shut Up About It And Sell Chicken. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/03/19/chick-fil-a-ceo-cathy-gay-marriage-still-wrong-but-ill-shut-up-about-it-and-sell-chicken/#1a2d1d701a4f

2) Biographical Source - About Dan Cathy . (2017, January 27 ). Retrieved from https://www.chick-fil-a.com/Board-Officers/Board-of-Directors/Dan-Cathy

3) Biographical Source Daniel Truett (Dan) Cathy - chairman, president and CEO, Chick-fil-A, inc (2016). San Francisco: Boardroom Insiders, Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1788293338?accountid=12085

4) Dan Cathy. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/profile/dan-cathy/

5) ‘Guilty as Charged’ Cathy says of Chick-fil-a’s stand on biblical and ethic values (2016) http://www.bpnews.net/38271

6) http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2013/06/28/chick-fil-a-president-tweets-response-to-gay-marriage-rulings-then-deletes

7) Reilly, K. (2016, June 14). Chick-fil-A Is Closed on Sundays. But These Workers Still Made Food for Orlando. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://time.com/4368002/orlando-shooting-chick-fil-a-sundays/

8) Fisher, D. (2016, May 20). The Tie That Binds: Serving Jacksonville’s Military Community. Retrieved from https://thechickenwire.chick-fil-a.com/Inside-Chick-fil-A/The-Tie-That-Binds-Serving-Jacksonvilles-Military-Community

9) Ruggless, R. (2014, January 27). 5: Dan Cathy: chairman, president and chief executive; Chick-fil-A Inc. Nation's Restaurant News, 48(2), 12. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=ITOF&sw=w&u=vic_liberty&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA358315398&sid=summon&asid=cf162cf0b3faaf14b1c798528481fd99

10) Chick-fil-A Doubles Investment in Team Member College Education. (2016, Sep. 19). Retrieved from https://thechickenwire.chick-fil-a.com/News/Chick-fil-A-Doubles-Investment-in-Team-Member-College-Education#sthash.06HHfLJ3.dpuf


Created with images by ccPixs.com - "Retail Chick-fil-A" • @cdharrison - "Chick-fil-a's Spicy Chicken Sandwich" • Mark Turnauckas - "Chick-fil-A Morning" • Global Integrity - "Kuala Lumpur airport"

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