together CEO of one of the nation"s largest family members owned businesses,"s Dan Cathy represents the next generation of management for the Atlanta-based fast-food chicken restaurant chain established by his father, S. Truett Cathy. Eager to incorporate his own an abilities and talents right into the business, Dan has actually taken an unconventional, yet personally and professionally financially rewarding approach to leadership.


With a certain handshake and also kind laugh Dan T. Cathy, chairman and also chief executive, management officer the, greets a family in a restaurant dining room saying, “Hi. I’m Dan. I job-related in client service.”

Cathy has actually been defining his duty in “customer service” for an ext than 40 year — even before officially joining, Inc. In 1970. Together the eldest kid of one of the most influential restaurateurs of the critical century, Dan has specialized much the his life to structure upon his father S. Truett Cathy’s pioneering vision to treatment for human being by giving food and customer company that above expectations.

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A life time of Service

Dan Cathy literally thrived up in his father’s restaurant - the jokingly states he’s remained in the restaurant business because “roughly nine months prior to I to be born.” once he and also his brothers (younger brother, Donald “Bubba” Cathy, and also sister, Trudy Cathy White) were very young, your father would certainly take them to his Dwarf Grill restaurant where they would entertain guests and also perform odd jobs. Dan remembers, “Dad would provide us each a butter knife therefore we can scrape the chewing gum (and other things) indigenous the bottom of each table. Us would carry out that nearly every day. It was all really glamorous,” the smiles.

Where the human being Are

Spending tiny time in the office, Cathy is the driving pressure behind growing the firm into a nationally well-known brand and also the biggest chicken chain (based on annual domestic sales) in the country. Hold purposeful conversations, ideation sessions, and also regularly camping out through guests in ~ restaurant cool openings every throughout the country, his leadership format stems indigenous a an individual belief that functioning in the ar creates a two-fold return: gaining a clearer knowledge of his customers’ needs and also creating one authentic instance of service to more than 100,000 staff and team members.

Remaining more focused top top relationships than transactions, Cathy spends each day seek out opportunities to uphold the company’s efforts to provide genuine, heartfelt hospitality, and ensure that guests have actually a amazing dining experience. If a lot has readjusted in its practically 70-year history, one principle remains paramount: to work-related hard and also be the best, because, as Cathy put it, “ is about people.”

A Servant-Leader

Over the years, Cathy has come to be known as a respected leader, speaker, and influencer in the business community. He frequently shares his life lessons, organization practices, profession secrets, and unrelenting heart of generosity as it relates come leading others well. “Selfless, servant leadership is about action,” that says, “and the bottom heat is that what we say and what we think will only be as reliable as what us are likewise willing to do.” to Cathy, company is not just something he does; it’s something the lives. Company is helping. Company is smiling. Business is a handshake. It’s the golden Rule. From helping mothers with youngsters to their tables, come refreshing a guest’s beverage, to a really simple, yet meaningful “my pleasure,” Dan believes the every minute of every day is another opportunity to encourage and bring pleasure to rather by serving them well.

When he’s no traveling, speaking, and also sharing the story at corporate gatherings, organization schools, and also other events, he can be uncovered behind the counter of a restaurant, due to the fact that “that’s whereby the civilization are.”

Innovation is Everything

Cathy is a voracious student — always asking questions; constantly looking come gain brand-new information. “Every job brings one more chance for us to grow and also learn miscellaneous new,” he says.

One that his favorite quotes comes from his friend and fellow businessman, Jack Welch: “If the rate of external change exceeds the rate of interior change, fail is imminent.” Cathy uses that reasoning to his day-to-day — forever trying to remain ahead the what’s next for his business and his customers.

Several years ago, Cathy played an integral duty in opened Hatch, modern technology and architecture center situated inside’s Atlanta corporate headquarters, freshly renamed the assistance Center. Flower is an 80,000-square-foot warehouse facility with room designed because that exploring new store layouts, company innovations, and kitchen operations. “Hatch is a ar to open people’s psychic to brand-new and amazing things as they help build the the the future,” he says. “This is a place to dream and really put type around what might be.” A 2nd facility, a 30,000-square-foot an are called The Kitchen, was likewise recently opened for culinary development.

Under Dan’s leadership, has experienced tremendous development — not simply in number of restaurants and sales, but likewise geographically. With recent restaurants going increase in cities favor Los Angeles and downtown Chicago, opened up its an initial restaurant in the big Apple in 2015, where the Manhattan place enjoys nearly continuous out-the-door lines.

In enhancement to his focus on physics growth, Cathy is additionally a crucial figure in championing digital expansion through advance of the One app, which organized a significant reign together the many downloaded app on iTunes with an ext than 4 million downloads in its first three days.

A ar Influencer

Cathy’s passion for his community can be felt through his joining in numerous organizations, consisting of the Eagle Ranch, the Carter Center, the Atlanta room of Commerce, and the Georgia Aquarium. That is likewise a member the the Atlanta Committee for Progress, and also in 2015 to be awarded the four Pillar Tribute through the Atlanta council for top quality Growth.

He offer on multiple boards and also remains actively involved in various ministries, philanthropies, and nonprofits, including: City the Refuge, enthusiasm City Church, The absent Ranch, and also outreach ministries that consist of the WinShape Foundation, one organization developed by his parental in 1984.

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A Renaissance Man

At home, Cathy is first and foremost a family members man. He and also his wife Rhonda live ~ above a farm south of Atlanta, whereby they regularly host gatherings v their 2 sons, Andrew and also Ross and enjoy time v their three grandchildren. There Cathy diffusion his time arising a myriad that interests. “Believe the or not, walk not specify me,” the says. “It"s a huge component of my life, but there space a the majority of other systematic things that comprise who i am.”

A musician known to pull out his trumpet inside and also out that the office, Cathy also enjoys the quieter understand of gardening and landscaping. He’s a previous competitive wrestler and also lifelong athlete who’s completed multiple marathons. A member of the “Moo Cow Bikers,” he hits the open roads ~ above his motorcycle with friends, and he is additionally known to take to the skies piloting tiny jets. Top top Sundays the teaches holy bible study come high schoolers.