A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.
Our dad is founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A, Inc. He started the business in 1946, when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as The Dwarf Grill (later renamed The Dwarf House). Through the years, Chick-fil-A has prospered and led him to great success in the restaurant business.
In 1967, dad founded and opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta's Greenbriar Shopping Center. Today, Chick-fil-A is the second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual sales.
In 2010, he celebrated his 64th anniversary in the restaurant business with industry-wide recognition: a local celebration at his first restaurant, The Dwarf House in Hapeville, Ga, and the opening of the third Truett's Grill location - a concept the chain first introduced in 1996 to recognize his then-50th anniversary in the restaurant industry.
Today, there are more than 1,500 Chick-fil-A restaurants in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Remarkably, dad has led Chick-fil-A on an unparalleled record of 43 consecutive years of annual sales increases. Our dad's approach is largely driven by personal satisfaction and a sense of obligation to the community and its young people.
The WinShape Foundation, founded in 1984, grew from his desire to "shape winners" by helping young people succeed in life through scholarships and other youth-support programs. The foundation annually awards 20 to 30 students wishing to attend Berry College with scholarships up to $32,000 that are jointly funded by WinShape and Berry.
In addition, through its Leadership Scholarship Program, the Chick-fil-A chain has given more than $25 million in $1,000 scholarships to Chick-fil-A restaurant employees since 1973.
As part of the WinShape Homes program, eight foster care homes have been started in Georgia, two in Tennessee and one each in Alabama and Brazil that are operated by the WinShape Foundation. These homes, accommodating up to 12 children with two full-time foster parents, provide long-term care for foster children with a positive family environment.
Another core component distinguishing WinShape programs is WinShape Camps. Our parents founded the camps program in 1985 as residential, two-week summer camps to impact young people and families through experiences which enhance their Christian faith, character and relationships. More than 1,900 campers from throughout the country and abroad attend WinShape Camps every year.
In 2003, Truett helped Bubba and his wife, Cindy, celebrate the opening of WinShape Retreat, a high-end retreat and conference facility also located on the Mountain Campus of Berry College. The multi-use facility hosts marriage-enrichment retreats, along with business and church-related conferences, and in summer months, houses WinShape Camp for Girls.
Dad has built his life and business based on hard work, humility and biblical principles. Based on these principles, all of Chick-fil-A's restaurants operate with a "Closed-on-Sunday" policy, without exception.
Dad has received countless awards over the years, including William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership (2008); Paul M. Kuck Legacy Award (2008); President's Call to Service Award (2008); The Cecil B. Day Ethics Award (2007); The Silver Buffalo Award presented by the Boy Scouts of America (2007); Tom Landry Excellence of Character Award (2007); Greater Dallas FCA Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poultry & Food Distributors Association (2005); Norman Vincent & Ruth Stafford Peale Humanitarian Award (2003); Catalyst Lifetime Achievement Award from Injoy/John Maxwell (2003); Georgia Sports Hall of Fame - Chairman's Award (2003); the Ernst & Young- Entrepreneur of the Year - Lifetime Achievement Award (2000); and Horatio Alger Award - Horatio Alger Association, Washington, D.C. (1989)
He also is the author of It's Easier to Succeed Than to Fail (Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1989); Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People (Looking Glass Books, 2002); It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men (Looking Glass Books, 2004); and How Did You Do It, Truett? (Looking Glass Books, 2007); and he is co-author of The Generosity Factor with Ken Blanchard (Zondervan Publishing, 2002). Dad's new book, Wealth, Is It Worth It? will be released Spring, 2011.
Our dad, S. Truett Cathy, passed away on September 8th. He is survived his wife of 65 years, Jeannette McNeil Cathy, sons Dan T. and Don “Bubba” Cathy; daughter Trudy Cathy White; 19 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.