Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Company, Business, Social Issues, Bible, Organization, LGBT, People, Love

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/02/20

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Abstract

Chick-fil-A is a company that has practiced biblical values in its business since the company was begun. The company’s founder S. Truett Cathy was a very religious person and he brought his religious beliefs into the business. The company has a strong corporate culture that is based on biblical values. Biblical values are displayed all over the company. The company does not open on Sunday, and people are of the opinion that it is losing out on revenues that it would have made if it opened on Sundays. The company was subjected to a major controversy that involved the issue of same-sex marriages. The company was in favor of a traditional marriage as defined by the Bible. Some of the companies that had business ties Chick-fil-A cut their ties with the company so as to avoid the criticisms. Eventually, the company made statements saying that it was not going to get involved in issues that concerned the government and politicians. The case of Chick-fil-A enables other companies to learn valuable lessons.

Introduction

Chick-fil-A is an American company that has a large number of fast food restaurants. The company area of specialization is chicken sandwiches. The company has a strong culture that is influenced by religion and biblical values. All the Chick-fil-A restaurants do not open on Sundays so that people can go to church and worship God. The company has also being involved in a controversy concerning its CEO’s public statements about same-sex marriage. America is a free country that is against discrimination of any kind. Chick-fil-A has been facing challenges concerning its focus on upholding biblical values. The corporate culture at Chick-fil-A is guided by the principles of the Bible.

Company Background

Chick-fil-A is a company that originated from Dwarf Grill. Dwarf Grill is presently known as Dwarf House. The restaurant was founded by S. Truett Cathy (CFA, 2015). Truett founded the restaurant near an assembly plant for Ford Motor Company in Atlanta. The people working at the plant were the first clients of the restaurant, and they became patriotic towards it. Truett worked on the fast food business for a period of 15 years before discovering a pressure fryer that was able to cook the chicken sandwich in a very short time. This discovery made him register a company under the name Chick-fil-A Inc. The main item on the company’s menu was the chicken sandwich.
In the beginning, Truett named his sandwich as chicken steak sandwich, but he felt that the name was not very appealing. He figured that using fillet in the name will be more attractive to the customers because the fillet forms a very good part of the meat. He came up with the name Chick-fil-A where chick represents chicken, fil represents the fillet, and A represents a high grade based on quality.
In the year 1967, Truett opened the very first Chick-fil-A restaurant at a suburb in Atlanta. The business expanded and many franchises were opened within food courts in malls. The first standalone franchise was opened in the year 1986. The company started focusing on the standalone franchises and opened many of them. The company has also opened restaurants at areas where you are served as you drive through the location. Hospitals, airports, and universities have Chick-fil-A restaurants that are subjected to licensing agreements.
The company uses a business model that is different from most companies that carry out franchise businesses. Chick-fil-A retains ownership of the franchises that are developed. The company chooses the location of the restaurant and builds the restaurant. Franchisees from other companies usually pay about $2 million when they want to open a franchise restaurant. In the case of franchisees from Chick-fil-A, they only need to invest $10,000 for them to operate (CFA, 2015). Every year, the company opens between 60 and 70 franchises. It gets applications from franchises ranging between 10,000 and 25,000. The company has been able to collect larger revenues compared to its competitors. The franchisees of Chick-fil-A have also been able to collect good money from their operations.

Discussion of the Biblical Values held by the Company

Truett was a very religious man attending the Southern Baptist Church. The religious beliefs he held impacted heavily on the culture of the company (Green, 2014). The company has an official corporate statement of purpose that states that the purpose of the business is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
The religious beliefs held by Truett are also responsible for the fact that all the Chick-fil-A restaurants do not open on Sundays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving Day. That goes for all the restaurants owned by the company as well as its franchises (Novack, 2012). The business model adopted by Chick-fil-A makes it easy to enforce such rules. Ownership of the franchises is retained by the company; therefore, the franchisees cannot operate freely according to their own rules (CFA, 2015). Truett says that when he started the business he wanted to achieve financial success, but not to the extent that he would abandon his priorities and principles. He says that closing the business on Sunday is aimed at honoring God and getting the time to focus on other important things in life.
The current CEO of Chick-fil-A is Dan T. Cathy who is the son of Truett Cathy (Novack, 2012). Dan Cathy says that another reason for closing on Sunday is based on the fact that Truett was usually worn out by the time it reached Sunday and he just wanted to rest. Sunday was usually a slow day in business during the time that the company was being founded. Truett closed his business from the very first Sunday, and has never opened the business on Sunday. Dan Cathy also says that his father did not like working on Sunday and that he was quoted several times saying that it is not good to make people do what you yourself are not willing to do. He figured that if he did not like working on Sunday other people should also not work on Sunday (HP, 2012).
The website of Chick-fil-A has a statement that says that the service tradition and culture of the company is to ensure that all people are treated with respect, dignity, and honor irrespective of their gender, creed, race, belief, and sexual orientation (CFA, 2015). However, the company has been involved in a controversy involving the issue of same-sex marriage. Media news reported that Chick-fil-A was a co-sponsor to a conference held about marriage. One of the co-sponsors of the marriage conference was an organization referred to as the Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI). PFI was opposed towards the legislation of same-sex marriage. The company responded by saying that one of its restaurant operators had been asked to supply sandwiches to two marriage seminars. Truett and his wife had also started a charitable organization called WinShape Foundation that held marriage retreats. The organization stated that couples who were of the same sex would not be allowed to participate in the marriage retreats held by the organization.
The WinShape Foundation is also said to have made donations worth millions to organizations that were against LGBT rights. The activists of LGBT rights called out for a nationwide boycott from the Chick-fil-A restaurants (Evans, 2012). Counter-protesters reacted by flocking at the Chick-fil-A restaurants and supporting the company by buying and eating there. Chick-fil-A is said to have made very high volumes of sales during that period. However, some of the business partners of Chick-fil-A did not want to be caught up in the midst of these fights, and they cut their ties with the company. One of the companies that wanted to cut its ties with Chick-fil-A was the Jim Henson Company. This company specialized in making toys that were given to kids as part of the meals they purchased. The Jim Henson Company threatened to end its business relationship with Chick-fil-A and donate the payments it received towards an organization that was against the defamation of gays and lesbians. Chick-fil-A stopped the distribution of these toys saying that several safety concerns had been raised about these toys over a period of time.
Some of the donations that were made by WinShape were towards Christian organizations that had agendas that were against gays. Other funds were sent to groups that handled marriage and family issues. One of the organizations that benefitted from funds received from WinShape was Exodus International. Exodus International was in support of therapy offered to people who converted from being gay. There was uproar from students in universities and colleges. They rallied for the removal and banning of the Chick-fil-A restaurants that were located in the universities and campuses.
Dan Cathy made public statements that were not well received by the public. The statements he made supported the traditional form of a family (Novack, 2012). He criticized supporters of same-sex marriages by saying that God’s judgment would fall on the American nation due to those people who were trying to define marriage that is contrary to the biblical definition. The company received a lot of disapproval from major politicians. Politicians in Boston and Chicago said that they would block the expansion of the Chick-fil-A restaurants into the Boston and Chicago areas.
The protest that countered the boycott protests from the activists of the LGBT rights was started by Mike Huckabee who was the governor of Arkansas. He retaliated by starting a movement called Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day (Flax, 2012). Many people confirmed their participation by sending RSVPs on Facebook. The total number of people who confirmed their participation was more than 600,000. The Chick-fil-A restaurants gained a lot of support from the public and broke their sales records. Two days later, the same-sex activists held a protest labeled Same-Sex Kiss Day (Novack, 2012). The LGBT people were supposed to kiss at the Chick-fil-A restaurants where their supporters would donate an amount equivalent to the cost of the meals served at the Chick-fil-A restaurants. These donations would go towards supporting the gay rights groups.
Chick-fil-A issued a statement after the nationwide protests saying that it was going to stay out of the debate concerning same-sex marriages. The company said that it was best to leave such debates to the politicians and the government. The company acted by stopping its donations towards organizations that were publicly criticized. Chick-fil-A made its announcement through The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) that it would not donate to any organization that promoted discrimination. They specified discrimination against LGBT civil rights since this had caused a major controversy to the company. The officials at Chick-fil-A said that they were going to treat each person equally irrespective of their sexual orientation (CFA, 2015). The WinShape Foundation carefully scrutinizes each organization they are considering to help so that they do not end up funding organizations that have political agendas.
Chick-fil-A and WinShape have continued making donations to groups that support biblical definitions as long as these groups do not discriminate people. The company says that it did not succumb to the pressure of the same-sex marriage activists, but rather sought to promote fair treatment to all people. The company did not want to get involved in the fights staged by politicians who held different views.
Chick-fil-A is a company that upholds its biblical values in its corporate culture (HP, 2012). According to the Bible, God worked for six days and rested on the seventh day. That is why Chick-fil-A works for six days in a week and rest one day in the week. It can be argued that the seventh day falls on a Saturday, but the decision to rest on a Sunday is based on the fact that Truett attended a Southern Baptist Church. Most churches hold their services on Sundays. Companies that hold their businesses on Sunday experience slow days because most people prefer to go to church and spend time with their families.
Another biblical value held by the company is the idea of a traditional marriage according to the definition of the Bible. Adam was the first man that was created by God and then Eve was created so that she could help him (NIV, 2011). Adam and Eve got children and thus the lineage of man has been continued over the years. In the new testament of the Bible, homosexuality is regarded as a sin. Chick-fil-A had a charitable foundation that held onto the idea of a traditional marriage. The controversy arose because this organization was sponsoring groups that were discriminating gay people.
The company was caught in between a group of people who were fighting against each other (Flax, 2012). The company was easy prey because of the biblical values it holds. In business it is important to look deeply into the potential outcome of certain actions. The anti-gay organizations found an easy target in the form of Chick-fil-A because they knew that the company was charitable and would sponsor organizations that upheld biblical values. The company was being used as a source of funding without considering the potential impact on the company’s business. Some of the organizations that received funding were political organizations that were more focused on gaining popularity and winning the elections (Green, 2014).

Display of the Biblical Values within the Company

The headquarters of Chick-fil-A are located within a wooded area of land a few kilometers from Atlanta (Green, 2014). There is a statue of Jesus washing the feet of one of his disciples. The statue is supposed to symbolize the act of servant leadership. The entrance to the building has religious art as well as quotes from the Bible. There are also crosses being displayed at the entrance.
Christianity is displayed openly at the premises of the company. Truett Cathy is known to have displayed biblical values in his business from the time he opened his first restaurant. The cups that are used to serve tea have Bible quotes (Green, 2014). Biblical values are also displayed in the company by the action of closing business on Sundays. Closing business on Sunday symbolizes honoring God and focusing on other things in life. The employees can go to church and spend time with their families on Sunday.

Lessons Learnt

The experiences of Chick-fil-A have provided a lot of lessons for other companies that want to succeed in business. The application of biblical values in the company is good, but it poses a lot of challenges that can lead to the failure of the business. It is very important for the company to look deeply into the actions it plans to undertake so that it can identify the potential impact of its actions. In the case of Chick-fil-A the company would have been able to know that people would not take kindly to the idea of discrimination.
Big companies draw a lot of attention when they find themselves in the middle of major public issues. The CEO of Chick-fil-A should not have made public statements about the issue of same-sex marriage because it would affect the business. He needed to know that he represented the company and that his views about marriage would affect the people’s reaction towards the company. The best thing would have been to keep quiet or make a statement that was not judgmental. Each person has his or her own views about sexual orientation, and these views should be respected.
Companies should avoid aligning themselves with public debates that have hot issues. The issue of LGBT rights is very sensitive and any indication of discrimination can have major negative consequences to the business. Politicians use major public issues to win elections. They flow with the views held by the people in the regions where they are seeking votes. Political organizations seek funding from companies so that they can influence a large group of people. Companies should avoid involving themselves in political issues because they can have devastating effects on their business.

Conclusion

Chick-fil-A is a company that has suffered major public criticism due to supporting organizations that are against sensitive public issues. The company is founded on biblical values that make it an easy target for issues such as same-sex marriages. The company’s success and charitable endeavors attract Christian organizations, political organizations, family organizations, and marriage organizations. Chick-fil-A values family and follows the guidance of the Bible. The company suffered a lot of criticisms due to the funds it donated to organizations that were against LGBT rights. The company was seeing as a promoter of discrimination against people. The supporters of the LGBT rights called for a boycott at the Chick-fil-A restaurants. The people against LGBT rights thronged at the restaurants so as to offer it support. The company was caught in the middle of two warring sides. The company had to stop funding organizations that were against LGBT rights for it to succeed in business. Chick-fil-A learnt a very important lesson from the controversy. The lesson was to leave sensitive debates to politicians and the government.
Holding onto biblical values does not mean that a company will fail in business. It merely means that the company will have more challenges while tackling certain issues in the society. Biblical values have some good aspects that involve allowing employees to rest and enjoy Christian holidays. These values also enable employees to respect one another and develop a love for the company. Love and unity among the employees can lead to success in business. The employees are able to work together as a team and help each other whenever one person is stuck. Biblical values are good for business, but they need to be executed in a smart way.

References

CFA, (2015). Franchise Opportunities. Chick-fil-A Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Company/Franchise-Opportunity
Green, E., (2014, Sep 8). Chick-fil-A: Selling Chicken With a Side of God. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/09/chick-fil-a-selling-chicken-with-a-side-of-god/379776/
Novack, J., (2012, Aug 3). Chick-fil-A’s In Your Face Christian Credo is Old News. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2012/08/03/chick-fil-as-in-your-face-christian-credo-is-old-news/
Flax, B., (2012, Aug 2). A Christian-Libertarian’s Take on the Chick-fil-A Controversy. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2012/08/02/a-christian-libertarians-take-on-the-chick-fil-a-controversy/
Evans, R. H., (2012, Jul 30). Some Words for Christians on Both Sides of the Chick-fil-A War. RHE. Retrieved from: http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/chick-fil-a
HP, (2012, Oct 3). Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A President Stresses Company’s Support of ‘Biblical’ Families. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/03/chick-fil-a-president-dan-cathy-biblical-families-_n_1935786.html
NIV, (2011). Holy Bible. New International Version. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

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