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Chick-fil-A: Grow and Give

May 12, 2009

Despite economy, Chick-fil-A continues to grow and give

by Linda Hahn | The Good News | April 1st 2009

Chick-fil-A, the company behind the cows begging customers to “Eat Mor Chikin,” has increased sales despite the struggling economy.

The restaurant chain marked its 41st consecutive year of rising sales with a 12.17 percent increase from 2007 to 2008. In addition, the company expanded with 83 new locations in 2008 alone.

Closing on Sundays and generous donations to community and ministry events have not affected Chick-fil-A’s escalating revenue. “God has truly blessed our business, and we pray that He will continue to keep His hand upon us,” says Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Dan T. Cathy.

Hospitality and hope
The key component to continued growth of Chick-fil-A in South Florida can be traced back to biblical financial stewardship, as well as service to the community with a positive, encouraging attitude.

“It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” says Samuel Poeana, franchise operator of Chick-fil-A in Coral Springs. “We are constantly reminded of how [we can] make a difference in people’s lives.” Hospitality continues to be the focus in South Florida. “Right now, they need to be treated with honor, dignity and respect,” adds Poeana. “If we do that, then we’re winning customers.”

Poeana encourages his team not to participate in the negative rhetoric associated with the economic downturn, but rather to continue to provide good service by going the “second mile” that Jesus instructs in Matthew 5:41.

In addition to going beyond the call of duty, Chick-fil-A has a long-standing tradition of volunteer service. Chick-fil-A has provided food for numerous community outreaches including Big Brothers and Big Sisters for Jesus, a ministry of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.

Recently, Poeana’s store teamed up with Church by the Glades to provide food and entertainment for a back-to-school event. Event volunteers provided book bags, uniforms and school supplies for inner-city schools while the children were entertained by the notorious “Eat Mor Chikin” cow.

“The reason I’m here … is I like serving people,” says Nick Cristantiello, operator of Chick-fil-A in Pembroke Pines. “I really have a passion for helping my people find their passion and any opportunity we have to help the community, we try to do it.”

Cristantiello’s store has partnered with schools, churches and non-profit organizations such as “All Pro Dads.” The organization encourages fathers to spend quality time with their children. Chick-fil-A is the main sponsor and promoter of the organization by providing information and food to local schools.

Recently, their promotional event at Pines Charter Elementary West attracted more than 150 participants. Local organizations appreciate the support from Chick-fil-A as they minister to the “least of these.”

Feeding the homeless
Ministering to the homeless is a calling Chick-fil-A employees take seriously. In fact, Chick-fil-A teams up with First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale each year to feed and provide for the homeless. While local volunteers provide medical care and clothing, Chick-fil-A provides food and encouragement.

The Touch Project, a ministry serving the homeless of Miami every other week, works with Chick-fil-A to feed the poor.

“For years there has been one organization that has supported this outreach from the beginning. It’s been Chick-fil-A,” says Touch Project Director Warren Corbin. “… For over 2 years, they have donated over 2,400 chicken sandwiches faithfully to this ministry and never asked for a penny in return. No tax deductible receipt, no special mention, just given to this outreach because they believe it’s what God would want them to do.”

Chick-fil-A anticipates continued growth in 2009, with the anticipation of 76 new store openings nationwide.

Cathy adds, “While we by no means are immune to the economic challenges our country is facing, we do believe we will continue to remain healthy so long as we stay committed to the qualities that have shaped the Chick-fil-A brand thus far: Providing exceptional customer service and unmatched product quality to every customer on every visit.”

For more information, visit your local Chick-fil-A or www.Chick-fil-A.com.

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