Dan Cathy is the President and COO of Chick-fil-A, Inc. as well as being the oldest son of its Founder and CEO Truett Cathy. If you were to ask Dan what he does though, he’ll tell you he’s in Customer Service. Throughout the summer interns get a firsthand look at how Dan does Customer Service. The first round of interns was able to fly to the Grand Opening of the first Chick-fil-A in a major metropolitan area, Chicago, IL. The interns slept with the President on the streets of Chicago along with over 100 members of the public awaiting the Grand Opening. A week later, all the interns visited Dan’s sprawling farm south of Atlanta for a “little picnic.” This outing consisted of a tour of the grounds and a large catered dinner in one of his barns. In between walking and eating, we were given the chance to explore the grounds by four-wheeler or farm equipment. The large farm equipment is used to aerate a large pile of mulch, creating an adult sized sandbox. Interns were given the chance to play with the farm equipment or load up in some four or five John Deere Pro-Gators and ride out to the Flint River. After a muddy trek around the grounds, we all ended up bruised but happy. This experience proved a stark contrast to the next day’s events as I and five other interns got our chance to travel with Dan.
We started out the day with a short flight on one of the corporate jets to a luncheon at Reynold’s Plantation. Here Dan presented to some members of the medical community about the importance of community service. It was exciting to hear him speak from a different angle than his usual about the food service industry. After getting to meet many of the members and passing out numerous stuffed cows, we boarded the jet again to head to a Grand Opening in South Carolina. At the Grand Opening, we met many of the guests, the new operator, and team members. We observed Dan Cathy sitting down with families to listen to their personal Chick-fil-A experiences. The highlight was a “rogue” cow that would not take off the costume or break character. He was committed to making the day fun. After mingling in the dining room, some of the crew members took us “backstage” to view the new kitchen design. In the kitchen we learned about how Chick-fil-A makes everything fresh on site and with name brand products. I have never seen more fresh fruits and vegetables in a fast food restaurant before. On the flight back to Atlanta we discussed our plans for our lives and got valuable insight from Dan into our futures. These experiences gave us a panoramic view of how a company can be well-run, and how we can get the most out of our internships.