Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, a popular quick-service chicken restaurant, died this morning. He was 93.
Cathy was a hard worker who had a knack for innovative ideas on how to improve his craft in a competitive industry. According to its website, Chick-fil-A, with more than 1,800 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C., and $5 billion in annual sales in 2013, is the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in America.
Cathy’s vision, determination, and hard work paid off. He is also a great example of the essence of an entrepreneur and how the free market can create value for society.
As an entrepreneur, Cathy knew the pathway to success began by looking outside of himself to the interests of others. He sought to create products and services in the food industry that people wanted and provided those things in an environment where customers and employees felt valued.
Cathy understood that for entrepreneurs to profit, they must create value for others. Cathy created that value, and rewards followed.
Despite closing all his stores on Sunday so his employees could attend church and be with their families, his personal success left him a billionaire. He also was a philanthropist who created the WinShape Foundation in the early 1980s with the stated goal to “shape winners” by helping young people succeed in life through scholarships and other youth-support programs.” He also spent millions to support college sports, including a bowl sponsorship, and encouraged other entrepreneurs to do so as well.
Cathy’s ingenuity and conviction to serve others along with the power of the free market created wealth for many. The free market provides the best structure and freedom for generating value, opportunity, and wealth for the largest amount of people – with an added benefit of creating opportunity for greater charitable giving.
Truett Cathy will be missed, and his legacy of devoting his life to serving others by means of his entrepreneurial prowess in the marketplace should be appreciated, admired and emulated.