Q & A with Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy

Editor’s note: Chick-fil-A founder and chairman Truett Cathy was the featured speaker at the Renewanation banquet held Nov. 10, 2009, at Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Va. Besides sharing his wit and wisdom with the close to 800 folks who attended the banquet, Mr. Cathy took the time to visit with Renewanation Public Relations Coordinator Dan Coy after the event. Here is a portion of their conversation.

Q: Dan Coy - You say it`s important to involve God in every decision that one makes. Why do you think that is so and how has that affected your life?

A: Truett Cathy - I feel that God has created us to be successful. Everybody has a burning desire to achieve something noteworthy during our lifetime. But, sometimes we’re sidetracked. (For) someone — young people particularly — sometimes it’s more important to please your peer group than to please God. You are willing to disobey God to please your peer group. … God’s got a plan for our lives and we might as well take that advantage and He will help you. Sometimes we think we may know more than what God knows, but that’s a mistake.

Q: Dan Coy - You mentioned tonight that our young people have a lot of challenges. What do you think is the greatest challenge to our young people today in all the generations you’ve seen?

A: Truett Cathy - Lack of parents, and lack of anyone to give them direction and encouragement. They come home from school and both parents work. (There is) a lot of temptation around the household when you’re there with your friends. So, I think they have to be very careful with whom they associate themselves with, because you become a part of the people you associate yourself with. It`s very important to spend time with people who think like you think. So, that`s very important that you create friends that think like you do. A lot of them would like to take you down the stream with them if you`re not very careful.

Q: Dan Coy - What would you like to say about Renewanation and what it`s trying to do in our nation today?

A: Truett Cathy - Well, I think it`s an important factor that we inject Biblical principles into the teaching. I think it`s the only way. You try to train somebody or teach somebody without using Biblical principles… I don`t see how they do it. We call it something different like: PMA — Positive Mental Attitude. The Bible says,”As a man thinketh, so is he.” So, we have to think clean thoughts. We should open the Bible and thumb through there. I like how it says in the Bible, (about) how to run a business. We train our people the “Golden Rule.” Treat your customers like you like to be treated when you go out to eat. Do you like to be greeted with a bunch of smiling faces and see a demonstrated serving spirit? If the customer says “thank you” we say, in response, “my pleasure.” You don`t expect to hear that in fast food. We are even practicing, “going the second mile.” That’s taught in the Bible also. Go over and above what`s expected of you. We have letters all the time thanking us for how kind our people are and considerate and helping them with food or with the baby out to the car. It is very meaningful to us because we can compete with our highest competitor simply because of the kindness in our unit.

Dan Coy - Thank you so much for your example and for your time today and for these few minutes we’ve had. God bless you.

Truett Cathy - God bless you, Dan.

By Dan Coy