During his senior year of college, Robert Shaffer solidified what his friends thought to be a curious career choice: to own and operate his own Chick-fil-A franchise.
“They had this perception that Chick-fil-A was a run-down restaurant with poor quality and poor service,” Shaffer said. “Even my wife (girlfriend at the time) Mandy and her family didn’t really know what Chick-fil-A was.”
Four years after graduation, Shaffer (’08) has accomplished his goal. He was selected as owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise in Ventura, CA, scheduled to open during the first quarter of 2013. Mandy (Barrie, ’09) will be a supervisor on the restaurant’s staff.
The Business Management major said he was drawn to Chick-fil-A by its strong brand image and Christian values.
“I wanted to be an operator so I could have a greater opportunity to have a positive influence in others’ lives,” Shaffer said. “I am thankful and humbled to partner with a company like Chick-fil-A that operates its business based on biblical principles.”
Franchise structure was another factor that appealed to Shaffer. Quick service restaurant owners typically provide most of the initial capital investment and may own numerous locations. Chick-fil-A owners generally operate only one restaurant and must provide only an initial $5,000 deposit with no ongoing personal capital investment. Shaffer explained that this structure allows operators to train and serve the employees, giving those employees an opportunity to personally know the operator and his family.
A franchise opportunity is easier said than done. Chick-fil-A’s corporate public relations office said that only about 90 of approximately 22,000 applicants received franchises during 2011. Shaffer said, “Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A Inc, once said, ‘It’s harder to get into the CFA than the C.I.A.’
“I am completely thrilled and humbled. I’m thankful the Cathy family has entrusted me with this opportunity.”
Click here to read Chick-fil-A’s company fact sheet.
–By Ariel Rosen