A case study: Chick-fil-A CompanyChick-fil-A is a fast-food chain of restaurants first founded in 1946 by its chairman and C. E.O. S. Truet Cathy. It is headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of College Park, Georgia. It specializes in boneless breast of chicken sandwiches. Chick-fil-A has grown tremendously to become the second largest fast-food restaurant chain with more than 1,700 locations in 39 states. This long journey all started in 1960’s when the founder Mr. Cathy founded Chick-fil-A, Inc. by establishing restaurants in shopping malls. Chick-fil-A is a private company and owned by the family.
The company has a slogan that has been trademarked, “We Didn’t Invent the Chicken, Just the Chicken Sandwich, ” due the ever-popular Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich. Chick-fil-A has stood out from its competitors by pioneering innovative concepts for customer convenience that range from: Mall/In-line restaurants, Stand-alone restaurants, Drive-Thru Only Outlets, Dwarf House-Truett’s original, and Truett’s Grill, to mention but a few (chick-fil-A. com). Chick-fil-A has had a long standing culture of giving through charities and/or sponsorships. Together with its franchised restaurant operators, Chick-fil-A Inc. has contributed more than $68 million to over 700 charitable and educational organizations across America (chick-fil-A. com).
Youth and education programs, community involvement and local giving, and leadership and family enrichment programs are the three key areas that Chick-fil-A focuses its giving. The company also contributes millions of dollars to the anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organizations. When opening his first restaurant in 1946, Mr. Cathy decided that Chick-fil-A shall remain closed on Sundays. At chick-fil-A’s headquarters in Atlanta, a plaque say’s the company’s mission is to “glorify God. ” The company does this by serving chicken sandwiches and closing all its outlets on Sundays (chick-fil-A. com). Truett Cathy is quoted as having said that while you don’t have to be a Christian to work at his company, you are asked to base your business on biblical principles because they work (The Economist, 2012).
Truett’s son, Dan T. Cathy, who is the president and chief operating officer of chick-fil-A, publicly opposed same-sex marriage which brought controversies. The public’s reaction to his remarks against gay marriage was very fast and strident. Seliber (2012) wrote about the interview with Dan Cathy. Biblical recorder had asked Dan Cathy about opposition to his company’s “support of the traditional marriages and family. ” His reply to this was to the affirmative and he said that he was guilty as charged and that chick-fil-A is very much supportive of the biblical definition of the family unit.
This reason, coupled with the company’s contributions to the anti-LGBT rights groups, set off mixed reactions from the public. LGBT rights activists and gay youth called for boycotts and demonstrations against the company. On the other hand, the counter-protesters were in full support by eating at the restaurants (The Economist, 2012). Organization culture constitutes the beliefs, norms, values, visions, systems, working language, habits, and symbols.
It can also be perceived as a pattern of collective behaviours and assumptions of an organization’s members as a way, in which they perceive things, think and even feel (Fairholm, 1994). This affects the interpersonal relationships within the members of an organization, clients and stakeholders. Some of the organization’s cultural beliefs can be so dangerous to its future operations. For instance, in Laguna Hills, a local group of lesbian and gay youth planned to stage a protest against the opening of a new branch of chick-fil-A restaurant.
This was because of Dan Cathy’s remarks against same-sex marriages and support of the ‘biblical definition of the family unit’ (Zimmer, 1990) and the company’s millions of dollars contributions towards the anti-LGBT rights groups. In as much as it is a constitutional right to express your religious beliefs, it would be better if business owners could do this in a woolly and bland manner to avoid mixed reactions from the public which may affect their businesses.