“Let your light so shine before men, that
they may taste your hot waffle fries!” said Dan Cathy, paraphrasing
Matthew 5:15 (NKJV). Dan Cathy, President and CEO of Chick-fil-A, Inc., recently
spoke about his company’s biblically inspired approach to business to almost
1000 men (and a few women) at an event hosted by Colonial’s Men’s Ministry.
Cathy, the son of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, was in the Triangle area
celebrating 40 years of Chick-fil-A serving our community. The first
Triangle-area Chick-fil-A opened at Crabtree Valley Mall in 1972.
Of course Matthew 5:16 actually says: “Let your light so shine before men, that
they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” And that sums
up the Chick-fil-A philosophy . . . do everything you do (whatever your business
is) to the glory of “your Father in heaven.” Cathy said, “Do what you do
incredibly well!—so incredibly that people want to get to know you.”
When young people begin working at Chick-fil-A, they are trained to see every
customer as a person with a history. Cathy explained that customers place trust
in them by choosing to eat at a Chick-fil-A, and “[we] can help minister to the
broken lives of the people in our dining rooms.”
To illustrate his point, Cathy shared a training video called The Roman Road.
The video recounts the obligation that anyone traveling a Roman road had to
carry a Roman soldier’s pack exactly one mile when commanded. No one had the
right to refuse the demeaning task. In the video, a father and son traveling the
road were asked to carry two soldiers’ packs. They did—the son complaining the
whole way. At the end of the first mile, to the amazement of one Roman soldier,
the dad continued carrying the pack the second mile.
“Why?” the soldier asked.
“The law requires the first mile, but I chose to go the second mile!
That’s what I’ve been taught to do,” said the father, explaining that he was a
follower of Jesus.
“It is a scriptural obligation to not drop the pack in the first mile,” said
Cathy. A clean dining room, clean restrooms, quickly serving tasty food—those
are all first-mile requirements when you run a quick-service
restaurant. “What constitutes the second mile?” he asked. It varies depending on
your business. For an up-scale, full-service restaurant, fresh flowers on the
tables and freshly ground pepper on your salad are first-mile items—for
Chick-fil-A, those are the second-mile touches that set them apart.
“The first mile is very competitive—the second mile is where we can have a lot
of fun. Spend time in the second mile doing the unexpected,” said Cathy. “In
your business or work: What’s your pepper grinder?” he asked. Figure that out,
and do it because “your work should be an act of worship.”
“We’re passionate about what we do. We’re second milers!”
The challenge was loud and clear: Christians should be second milers wherever
they are, in whatever business or ministry they find themselves. Cathy concluded
playing the Lord’s Prayer on trumpet—going the second mile . . . and doing it
To the Crossroads and Waverly Place Chick-fil-A restaurants: A big
thank you for providing a complimentary, boxed dinner for all who came
to hear Dan Cathy. Definitely second mile!