The founder of a major fast food chain wowed a Longview crowd today with his brand of down home humor and business savvy. With his trademark playful sense of humor, showering a Belcher Center crowd with parachuting toy cows, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, Truett Cathy, brought a message of success and levity.
"We had a hard time in the beginning teaching people what the name was. [They] called it chick-fella, chicka filla, Chevrolet" said Cathy.
The 87 year old Cathy was born to a depression-era Georgia family and turned dirt poor poverty into a fast food giant.
"Well, I guess eating more chicken is causing me to look so pretty. And at my age, every day you get up and put your shoes on is a good day," Cathy said.
He started his first restaurant in 1946. He now has over 1,300 across the U.S., with sales over $2 billion dollars. And, yes, he did invent the chicken sandwich.
"I invented the chicken sandwich not the chicken" Cathy said.
He attributes his success to his faith in God, and insists that all his locations be closed on Sunday.
"There's no such thing as business ethics, just personal ethics. I saw absolutely no conflict between biblical principles and good business practice, because they work," Cathy said.
His simple formula made him a true rags to riches story.
"I know it's a simple idea, that's the reason I was able to do it," Cathy said.
You may have seen the eat more chicken commercials. Since Cathy started that campaign in 1995, his chain-wide sales have tripled.