Leeds High School Diplomats Tour Chick-fil-A Headquarters

The Leeds High School Chamber Diplomats recently attended The Backstage Tour of the Chick-fil-A Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Departing Leeds at 5am on a charter bus, the Diplomats looked forward to a busy day of fun facts, networking, but mostly-lunch. After arriving at the Headquarters, the Diplomats listened in on the weekly Monday devotional given by Dale Murphy. The devotional explained how to be both the best team leader and teammate and why it is important to be both. The qualities of leadership and camaraderie are incredibly important to the Chick-fil-A brand which was evident in the way all of the employees fellowshipped with one another. The devotional also highlighted how everyone has a plan, a talent, a gift that can be used to help others. The devotional was based on Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future”. Chick-fil-A is a company rooted in faith and Christianity, that makes love and servitude a priority, as Chick-fil-a’s motto is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” After the devotional, a mic was passed around the room to give a shout out to the groups that were a part of the tour and training. The Headquarters made sure to be welcoming and hospitable to all of us, even though they had never met us before.

After the devotional we headed down to take a group picture on the couch where the Chick-fil-A commercials are filmed. We were able to see the behind-the-scenes and all the equipment needed for a commercial. After watching a video about the history of Truett Cathy founding Chick-fil-A, we began our tour with a tour guide nicknamed Hollywood. Hollywood showed us around the office spaces which are unlike most other companies. The building had open floors, with couches, greenspaces, etc., but also places where one could get work done alone, if so desired. The goal was to make work not seem like work, but a place where creativity and partnership could thrive. We were given a brief history of the company and the family who makes the company what it is today. We visited Truett Cathy’s own office which has been kept the same since the building was renovated a few years ago. In Truett’s office there were no chairs in front of his desk, instead he had chairs and couches outlining the room. This reflected his desire to never feel like he was over anyone else, but that he was meeting and talking to people on a personal level. Truett Cathy bought 300+ cars through the course of his life, eventually auctioning the majority off to raise money for the college scholarships Chick-fil-A gives its employees every year. However, he did keep some including the famous Batmobile (which only drives 21 miles per hour).

After finishing the tour at the main headquarters, we traveled across the street to where all the real magic happens. On this part of the tour, we were able to see the kitchens, developing sites, and conference rooms used for creating new menu items (the most recent menu item is the cauliflower sandwich). The chefs are provided with countless fresh ingredients and space to develop products that reflect the taste of Chick-fil-A. On the site, there were also two empty Chick-fil-A restaurants that represent how all Chick-fil-A’s are laid out around the country. This enables the company to ensure workers the safest and most efficient working environments.

Finally, came the most anticipated part of the tour; lunch. The Chick-fil-A staff is provided free lunch (and cheap daycare for their employees’ children) every day, with constantly changing menus. Classic Chick-fil-A menu items including chicken sandwiches, salads, and ice cream, are always available including three other main dish choices. On Monday, the choices were between Pulled-Pork Nachos, BBQ Pizza, a healthier option of Roasted Vegetables . Chick-fil-A does all it can to make work an enjoyable experience, putting the needs of its employees over everything else, especially money. Going on this tour allowed us Diplomats to experience the way a company should be ran and the successes that come from holding true to your values.

Article written by Darcy Phillips, LHS Student & Everyone Leeds Intern.  Photos courtesy by Dona Bonnett.

About the tour:  This tour is part of the Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce High School Diplomat Program accompanied by the Chamber Board, Corporate Ambassadors and Leeds Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator, Scott Robinson.  Thank you, Scott Robinson, for making this tour possible!