Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

S. Truett Cathy

American Entrepreneur, Founder of Chick-fil-A Restaurants

"How good a parent you were is determined by your grandchildren. If I have not taught my children how to be good parents – principally by example – then I have not fulfilled my responsibility."

"People generally know us as we are."

"We never realize our greatest potential until we perform at our very best."

"Truett’s Rules: (1) It’s better to demonstrate than to dictate. If you set the example, you won’t need to set so many rules. (2) Fifty percent of the battle ends when you make up your mind."

"Lives can be changed if you say the right thing at the right time at the right place with the right spirit… Words of encouragement, spoken or written, have a dramatic effect on a person…Well-intended words, even though they are correct, can damage relationships if they are not perceived as being offered with good will."

"It’s easier to succeed because failure exacts a high price in terms of time when you have to do a job over. It’s easier to succeed because success eliminates the agony and frustration of defeat. It’s easier to succeed because money spent to fail must be spent again to succeed. It’s easier to succeed because a person’s credibility decreases with each failure, making it harder to succeed the second time. And it’s easier to succeed because joy and expressions of affirmation come from succeeding, whereas feelings of discouragement and discontent accompany failure."

"Activity must be matched with competence."

"Associate yourselves only with those people you can be proud of whether they work for you or you work for them."

"Commitment characterizes all of my associates."

"Children all around us are growing up without strong positive guidance from their parents, who are busy, distracted, absent, or who choose to be buddies instead of parents to their children."

"CLOSED ON SUNDAY I was not so committed to financial success that I was willing to abandon my principles and priorities. One of the most visible examples of this is our decision to close on Sunday. Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business."

"Customer satisfaction is the payoff for spending the time to search for the best employees. Our restaurant team members have proven time and time again that going out of your way to make sure our customer has a pleasurable dining experience will build customer loyalty."

"Every child I know who overcame long odds and grew into a responsible adult can point to an adult who stepped into his or her life as a friend, mentor, and guide. Don’t be too concerned that your children don’t listen to you. But be very concerned that they see everything you do. Be so consistent in your discipline that you’re boring. Stop arguing in front of your children. You may think children have outgrown the desire to be rocked to sleep at night. They haven’t. Children will never believe in the covenant of marriage unless they see you living it with their own eyes. How do you know if a child needs encouragement? If he or she is breathing."

"Eleven Dos and Don’ts of Proven Entrepreneurial Success - 1. Don’t be burdened with personal debt. a. Car payment b. House payment c. Establish a nest egg d. Live simple 2. Start early as a teenager. Concentrate on what brings you happiness in your career. Have a tremendous want to – determination. 3. Sacrifice material things. Reward yourself later. 4. Shortcut to success: Observe what is working in the lives of others. Teenagers, observe mature individuals. 5. Don’t try to please all people. 6. Set priorities in the proper order. 7. Expand cautiously. Grow your business cautiously. 8. Franchising may or may not be good for your particular business. Use it cautiously. 9. Be prepared for disappointments. Many successful individuals experience failure. 10. Be kind to people. Courtesy is very cheap but brings great dividends. 11. Invite God to be involved in every decision. God gives us a brain to use – common sense. You can do it if you want to. God has given each of us a talent. Maybe yours is yet to be discovered. We honor God with our success. He designed us to be winners."

"Every problem has a solution. You just have to figure it out and then decide what to do."

"Every day, a framed poster of a mountain climber given to me by my daughter Trudy reminds me to ‘climb with care and confidence.’ I wholeheartedly believe in this philosophy, which is why in all my years in the restaurant business, I have never tried to overextend. I’m satisfied stepping from one plateau to the next, making sure we’re doing everything right before moving on. That way of thinking has allowed us to grow steadily into a 1.5 billion-dollar business with more than 1,200 restaurants, while responding to the needs of people around us. I know the best way to grow our business is to climb with care and confidence."

"Ever since I was a teenager delivering newspapers (for seven straight years), I have tried not to lose a single customer. I treated each one like the most important person in the world and delivered each paper as if I were delivering it to the front door of the Governor’s mansion. The key to succeeding with a paper route and the restaurant business, I would later learn, is to take care of the customer. Whether on the paper route or in my restaurants, I have found that the most effective way of promoting my business didn’t cost me anything but a little kindness to my customers."

"Food is Essential to life, therefore make it good."

"I believe no amount of business school training or work experience can teach what is ultimately a matter of personal character. Businesses are not dishonest or greedy, people are. Thus, a business, successful or not, is merely a reflection of the character of its leadership."

"I believe that you must have a tremendous amount of faith in what you want to do. You must be determined to make it no matter what the circumstances. In the past 60 years no matter the ups or downs, I have learned that the number one thing to do is to please the customer and they will come back."

"I believe that you can combine biblical principles and good business practices. I testified before Congress…on how to be honest and successful at the same time."

"I have tried to teach my children to make their own decisions. If I did a good job of it early in their lives, my influence would be strong enough to help them make the right choices as adults."

"I wasn’t all that bright. I had difficulty keeping up in class and I had always carried with me a bit of an inferiority complex regarding socializing at school and I never felt confident about dating girls. But I enjoyed my work and I enjoyed the rewards of working. As I read Mr. Hill’s book, I realized I could do anything if I wanted it badly enough. His words motivated me and showed me that I live in a do-it-yourself world."

"I was looking for something where I could make money and serve the public. The restaurant business is something you have to enjoy in order to be in it. You must look forward to serving the public and delivering a quality product. When you receive complements about the quality of service and food you deliver, it makes it all worthwhile."

"I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed. I have always encouraged my restaurant Operators and team members to give back to the local community. We should be about more than just selling chicken; we should be a part of our customer’s lives and the communities in which we serve."

"I was not so committed to financial success that I was willing to abandon my principles and priorities. One of the most visible examples of this is our decision to close on Sunday. Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business."

"I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order."

"If it takes seven days to make a living, you ought to be doing something else."

"Instruction is what we say. Influence is what we do. Image is what we are."

"It is also important to fall in love with what you do and then you can work longer in the field. Companies that prosper are ones that take care of their people (employees) and give them encouragement each day."

"It’s always easier to dismiss a person than to train him. No great leader ever built a reputation on firing people."

"It is important that when you go into business for yourself that you enjoy what you do and be fully committed to the endeavor. If you are fully committed to the task, you can achieve anything. Anything that you can see, conceive, and achieve you can believe."

"It is when we stop doing our best work that our enthusiasm for the job wanes. We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by our example lead others to do their best as well."

"Our mission is to: Glorify God by being a faithful steward in all that is entrusted to our care and that we might have a positive influence on people that we have contact with. I live by this everyday as I handle sales people and disgruntled guests. After we developed this corporate mission, our sales increased nationwide by 36%. I live by these words every day and encourage others to do so, too."

"No goal is too high if we climb with care and confidence."

"Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return."

"Loyalty of your people is a key to most any business success."

"Our people are the cornerstone of all that we do at Chickfil-A. As a chain, we believe that attracting great people helps create an unforgettable experience for our customers. It requires a lot of time and effort to make sure you have the right people working the right jobs, but we believe this is time well spent. The bottom line is that our people, from our restaurant Operators to the team members they hire, enjoy their work. Fewer than five percent of our franchise operators leave the chain in any given year. The more we can foster the feeling that we are a group of people working together, depending on each other, the more likely we are to be loyal to each other."

"The mark of professionalism is taking a difficult job and making it look easy… Planning ahead is the key. You have to anticipate your needs."

"Profits should be the score of the game, not the name of the game."

"We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by our example lead others to do their best as well."

"What makes number five in the Truett Cathy’s recipe for success so interesting is that despite the fact that Sundays are a prime sales revenue day for the quick-service industry, Chick-fil-A has always maintained its policy on being closed on Sundays; yet, the company still continues to produce a double"

"Why do we close on Sunday? Well, it started back in 1946 when I opened my first restaurant, a 24-hour coffee shop called The Dwarf Grill. After the first week, I determined that if it took seven days a week to make a living, I should be in some other business. Too, it was my conscience that I had to live with; I just never could come to the idea of dealing with money on the Lord’s Day. I became a Christian at age 12; that’s not to say that everything I’ve done since that time is becoming to a Christian, but I believe the Lord had blessed us because we recognize Him on this special day we call Sunday."

"You can't really enjoy anything without sharing it. This includes your faith, love, talents, and money."

"You have to be very careful about what you say. More importantly, you have to be very careful about what you do. You never know how or when you influence people – especially children."

"You have to want to succeed… You have to develop know-how. Merely putting time and energy into a project isn’t enough… Finally, you have to do it."

"A reporter once asked me how I would like to be remembered. I answered, ?I think I?d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order."

"A restaurant company needs two things to succeed: capital and talent."

"As a businessman, I knew of only one way to combat the competition and that involved putting on a strong promotional campaign. We notified the Operators of our campaign and put coupons in papers all over the country; we allocated 3.25 percent of our total sales for redemption of the coupons."

"After we make the necessary investment ? buying the real estate and building the restaurant ? we turn over the responsibility of running a $2 million-plus business (for a free-standing location) to these independent franchisees ? many who have not yet turned thirty years old. [On establishing a Chick-fil-A restaurant]"