Management and Operations
Chick-fil-A's managerial arrangement and operational strategy also differ from its competitors. Unlike franchisees at other fast food restaurant chains, franchisees at Chick-fil-A must also be operators. The language used to describe them gets at their position at Chick-fil-A: "franchise operator."
As an operator, franchisees must be free from all other business commitments so they can fully concentrate on managing their location. In fact, only a handful of operators run more than one Chick-fil-A location. At their franchises, operators set up business plans for each restaurant, oversee hiring and firing, set wages, and manage operations and equipment. Chick-fil-A provides a base salary of $30,000 to all operators, but beyond that, what the operator takes home depends on performance and their own salary setting - much like any self-employed businessperson.
This financial arrangement is intentional since Chick-fil-A's front office intends for franchisees to take self-interest in the performance of each restaurant. Indeed, Chick-fil-A insists that each operator is his or her own "entrepreneur," remitting a percentage of sales to Chick-fil-A but maintaining relative independence in terms of how they run their restaurants.
This independence is not taken lightly by Chick-fil-A. The company engages in a lengthy and intensive hiring procees when considering applications for potential franchise operators. Though estimates vary, only about 75 out of 10,000 applicants per year get the job. For the few who receive offers, training classes of four to eight weeks follow, teaching operators the basics of how to run a Chick-fil-A franchise and incorporating them into the company's management culture.
As a result of these strategies, operators at Chick-fil-A tend to be a tightly knit group of individuals who share the company's point of view on how to run a business, train employees, and forward the mission "to glorify God." To be sure, not all operators are Christians like Cathy. But most are, and thus, the spiritual values behind Chick-fil-A's operations are often strongly affirmed by its franchise operators.