Chick-fil-A Home Office

We were so fortunate to be able to visit the Chick-fil-A Home Office in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday as part of the “VIP of Chick-fil-A” promotion run by local restaurants here in the DC metro area.   I’m not a great flyer, so two flights in one day was pushing it, but I am really glad that I went and I actually did pretty well on the flight coming back, so maybe I just need to travel more.  (Note to husband.)

Chick-fil-A of Woodbridge was our sponsoring restaurant, and they were so incredible to us.  We had a congratulatory dinner (you can read about it here), and since the owners were unable to travel with us, they sent a car from Elite Limo USA, which was great.  Our daughter thought for sure that they were going to pick us up in the catering van (the one you see parked at the restaurant that’s cow-spotted) and was SO excited for us to get to ride “with the chicken nuggets” that we haven’t told her yet that we had a lovely SUV instead 🙂

My “plus one” is pretty awesome

Our flight left out of Reagan Airport, and it was short- about an hour and twenty minutes or so.  There were a bunch of winners and restaurant owners (or “operators” in CFA speak) on our flight, with about 130 total people on the trip when we all met up in Atlanta.  We had such a great time meeting new people and watching the operators tease each other.  While we were in Atlanta, they kept stressing the family atmosphere they try to create for their employees, operators, and customers, and you could definitely see that! Whether it was trying to convince a stewardess that one of the Cathy’s was on our flight (he wasn’t, but the operator of the La Plata store offered everyone on the flight an original sandwich to make up for it!) or surfing on the airport shuttle, we had a really great time just traveling and enjoying the friendly atmosphere.

Once we arrived in Atlanta, there were tons of Chick-fil-A home office staff that came to greet us.  Little known fact, it is physically impossible to not smile when people are forming a human chain and ringing cow bells at you!

Especially if you and your husband joke about how you’re being “herded” to the buses.

At the end of the line, the cows were there!! I promised our kids lots of cow pictures, and we did not disappoint.

The Home Office is actually amazing.  I wasn’t really sure what we were in for when they told us we were going to do a tour of corporate headquarters.  Chick-fil-A’s retention rate for employees is 97% at the Home Office, and they typically only lose people to illness or retirement, and you can definitely see why.  The location is like a giant park with most of the land left wooded.  There’s on-site childcare provided, as well as a gym, stocked pond, running trails, a cafe that provides lunch each day, and y’all, I’d move to Atlanta tomorrow to go work there.  I am not even kidding.  You can watch a video about it if you want to, on their website.

We were also provided with lunch, and then Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A came to speak with us.  He was very charming and funny! He came in to spend a few minutes with us while we were having lunch, and when he started his speech, he got distracted by someone’s plate and joked “What are you all eating? Is that pork barbeque? Someone’s going to get some demerits for that!”  I sincerely hope that when I am in my 90s I’m still putting on a suit and coming to speak to people!

Not pictured: The life-size Willie Nelson that lives in the office

Dan Cathy, the COO, also came to speak with us and so did “Bubba” Cathy (who threw a giant cow, which I caught!! Thank you, not that you’re reading this!).  Chick-fil-A is still family owned, and their third generation of family owners are now coming up.

We named him “Lap Child” hoping to pre-board on the way home.

After our lunch, we were able to tour the office, which is partially a museum, so there are works of art and statues all over the building, as well as a dedicated are to Truett Cathy’s car collection, which includes one of the Bat Mobiles used in filming Batman forever.  My husband really loved that.

There’s also an exhibit with a replica of the Dwarf House, which is where the Cathy family started their restaurant business, as well as an area dedicated to the charities that the Cathys fund through the WinShape Foundation, which offers marriage retreats, camps, foster homes, team development, college programs and more.

After our tour, we were again taken out to our buses which took us to the Dwarf House, which also has a Chick-fil-A attached, so that we could snap a few pictures and pick up a boxed dinner since we wouldn’t all fit inside.  Don’t worry- it was a Chick-fil-A sandwich this time- no barbeque.

We just had the most wonderful time.  It was fun and informative, and I really respect the principles that Chick-fil-A runs on.

If you’re ever in Atlanta, you don’t have to be a “VIP” to get a tour! Chick-fil-A Home Office Backstage Tours are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 9:30am and 1pm.  Lunch is available for purchase after the 9:30am tour.  The 90 minute walking tour is for ages 6 and up.

PS- I have a Chick-fil-A giveaway for your enjoyment, too.  (Unless it’s after December 7, 2012, because then the contest is closed).
I was provided with transportation to/from and around Atlanta, as well as a tour and two meals for myself and one guest as part of the “VIP of Chick-fil-A” contest.  The contest was not limited to bloggers/writers, and I was not asked to write about my experience in return for winning.  I just wanted to share with you guys.  All opinions are my own.