March 14

Truett Cathy

March 14, 1921 - Hapeville, Atlanta

While $3.5 billion in sales a year, is not, as the saying has it, chicken feed, Truett Cathy’s family-owned corporation feeds a lot of people a lot of chicken.

Born in Atlanta in 1921, Cathy came up during the Great Depression. With a deep spirituality and a determined work ethic, he opened the Dwarf Grill, a Hapeville restaurant, in 1946. Fifteen years later, he created a moneymaking morsel: a pressure-cooked boneless chicken breast sandwich. The first Chick-Fil-A opened in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Shopping Center in 1967; sales and locations have increased every year since.

Cathy pioneered restaurants in shopping malls; Chick-Fil-A opened its first freestanding store in 1986.

Cathy emphasizes people, not profits: stores close on Sundays, and the company spends millions on college aid for employees. Cathy’s philanthropic giving focuses largely on disadvantaged children, and he and his wife have been foster parents to more than 150 children.

The man who founded one of the largest privately owned restaurant chains in the country was born on March 14, 1921, Today in Georgia History.