Spiritual Values and Chick-fil-A Culture
Sunday closing is just one aspect of Chick-fil-A's endeavor to incorporate spiritual values into its corporate culture.
Though certainly informed by Christianity, Chick-fil-A does not explicitly present itself as a "Christian" company. There are no crosses or Bibles on display at local Chick-fil-A's. Employees are encouraged, but not required, to attend prayer services or chaplain meetings, which are entirely left up to the local operator to offer or lead in his or her respective restaurant. Nothing about the attire or behavior of Chick-fil-A's owners or employees might signal to customers that Christianity has played--or continues to play--a role in the company’s culture. In a word, if religion is present at Chick-fil-A, it is often in an understated, non-confrontational way.
Still, executives and employees at Chick-fil-A find a place for faith and spiritual values, although not in a way that marks the company as a totally "Christian" place to work. To understand how and why faith does--and doesn't--show up at Chick-fil-A, consider how Chick-fil-A presents itself to its employees and to its customers. Also consider how this might inform relations between management and their employees, as well as between local restaurants and their surrounding communities.
This is a Forbes magazine article describing--somewhat cheekily--the "cult of Chick-fil-A" and how spiritual values have shaped the company’s internal culture and external commitments. Other articles about Chick-fil-A’s corporate culture--and Sunday closing--can be viewed here and here.
For an insider’s take, also consider this brief interview with a local Chick-fil-A operator. ABC's Nightline also did a piece on Chick-fil-A, along with an interview with COO Dan Cathy during which he discusses faith and corporate culture at Chick-fil-A.
In this four part video series, S. Truett Cathy discusses his personal faith and its connection to his professional life and direction of Chick-fil-A. This was given at the Annual Businessmen Committed to World Evangelism Conference in 2006.
At times, the incorporation of religion into Chick-fil-A’s corporate culture can be more explicit. See, for instance, this prayer by President/CEO Dan Cathy at a Chick-fil-A restaurant opening.
Not everyone, of course, commends the integration of faith and corporate culture at Chick-fil-A. See this critical take on Chick-fil-A culture as well as this opinion piece. Also read about this episode involving a Muslim employee - to consider the liability issues that can potentially be involved with more overtly spiritual enterprises like Chick-fil-A.
In February 2011, Chick-fil-A faced a controversy over an operator's sponsorship of a marriage seminar that gay rights advocates believed was "anti-gay." Read about this controversy's coverage in The New York Times , The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN, and other outlets, as well as Chick-fil-A's response via their Facebook fan page.