Incorporated in 1964 by S. Truett Cathy and currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Chick-fil-A has become one of the nation’s most profitable, privately-owned fast food companies. Total sales at the company topped three billion dollars in 2009, continuing over forty straight years of sales growth. Such achievements mark Chick-fil-A as a successful fast food company by anyone's measure. But one aspect of Chick-fil-A sets it apart from many of its competitors. Each of Chick-fil-A’s 1,600 restaurant locations is closed on Sundays.
Why does Chick-fil-A close on Sunday? The short answer is that Sunday closing reflects Chick-fil-A’s spiritual values. According to Chick-fil-A’s Corporate Purpose, the company exists "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us [and] to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." Part of their notion of stewardship includes a strict reading of the Fourth Commandment to "honor the Sabbath and keep it holy." For a Christian executive like S. Truett Cathy and those in management at Chick-fil-A, closing on Sunday keeps this commandment. But they also believe that it marks Chick-fil-A with certain characteristics which add value to its enterprise. In Cathy’s estimation, they are "blessed by God" because they have kept - and continue to keep - this biblical mandate.
This case considers the spiritual values that inform Chick-fil-A's closed on Sunday policy, but it also considers how these spiritual values affect the company's ability to create value in a highly competitive marketplace. Moreover, it details how the values which underpin Chick-fil-A's Sunday closing policy connect to its broader corporate culture and philanthropic endeavors.