Don Cathy: Let your waffle fries shine before men

Last week, Don Cathy of Chick-Fil-A spoke in town. If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t have Chick-Fil-A restaurants, they are a family-owned quick service restaurant chain that focuses on chicken, customer service, and God.

Business fame, business principles

They are best known for the 3D sculptures of black and white cows that stand on their billboard railings, having apparently just finished painting such slogans as “EAT MOR CHIKEN”.

"Vote Chikin. Itz Not Right Wing or Left" cow billboard.

Next on the list is their Sunday closures. You simply can’t get Chick-Fil-A on Sunday anywhere. Less known is how intensely they focus on helping the staff team see their customers as people, each of whom has a story and needs that the business can fulfill.

What are your good works?

Cathy’s paraphrase of Matthew 5:16 was an excellent reminder of how important each person’s work is to the world’s vision of God’s Kingdom:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your waffle fries and clean restrooms and smiling staff and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

To laughter, he looked up and asked:

“Isn’t that how your Bible reads? Because that’s how mine reads. It says so that they may see your good works. And those are my good works.”

So what good works do you do in your job that shine before people to make God known?


About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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6 Responses to Don Cathy: Let your waffle fries shine before men

  1. Sean Breslin says:

    I’m really proud of Chick-Fil-A for staying the course for so long and being so successful in doing so.

    • I think there’s more to it than staying the course. Chick-Fil-A understands that doing business as Christians is about much more than what you DON’T do. They’ve built their success on understanding what we’re SUPPOSED TO DO. And they do it without putting little fishy plaques everywhere. People buy Chick-Fil-A because they like it; not just because it’s owned by Christians. And that’s how it ought to be (in my inadequately humble opinion!).

  2. Panama says:

    Today, the Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A operation has steadily grown to become the second largest (after Kentucky Fried Chicken ) quick service chicken chain in the United States, boasting 1,400 locations in 37 states with annual sales of more than $2 billion.

  3. silver price says:

    Formerly known as the Peach Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl is a college football bowl game played each year in Atlanta, Georgia between teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference .

  4. essie robertson says:

    I applaud Don Cathy for standing on his beliefs despite the very liberal media . Thank you!

    • I think Don Cathy and I might not entirely agree about how the marketplace should treat people who fall short of God’s guidance about one particular issue but I am grateful we all have freedom of speech. I’m also glad that Cathy is very clear that he cares, and expects his staff to care, a great deal about people who are dealing with other issues. We all see in part. I’m grateful God sees the full picture.

      For myself, I am pained that we as Christians keep drawing a line in the sand at sexual sins when God keeps listing them in a cluster with gossip, slander, greed, and idolatry. Had we drawn our line at greed — “wanting more” in the Biblical understanding — we might not be in the current mess.

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