Meet the Cathys, heirs to the Chick-fil-A empire, who have a fortune of more than $14 billion and are one of America’s wealthiest family ‘dynasties’

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The Cathy family.

When it comes to the Cathy family’s reported $14.2 billion fortune, it’s all about the fried chicken. That’s because the Cathys are the family behind the Chick-fil-A empire.

S. Truett Cathy officially founded the popular fast-food chain in the 1960s, laying the roots for what is today America’s 21st-richest family wealth “dynasty,” according to the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies’ “Silver Spoon Oligarchs” Report.

Since then, the family-owned business has remained in the hands of second- and third-generation family members. Truett’s sons, Dan Cathy and Don “Bubba” Cathy, run the company as CEO and executive vice president, respectively – they each have a reported net worth of $7.1 billion, according to the Forbes 400.

Born and raised in the south, the Cathy family has been dedicated to continuing Truett’s legacy, growing Chick-fil-A across the US. Chick-fil-A has been celebrated for its company culture, customer service, and quality food, but it has also received backlash over anti-same-sex marriage issues that align with the Cathys’ Christian beliefs.

Take a look inside the rise of Chick-fil-A and the family behind it.

The Cathy family’s multibillion-dollar fortune is rooted in the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.

S. Truett Cathy
S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A (second right) poses with son Dan T. Cathy (far left), daughter Trudy White, and son Donald “Bubba” Cathy.

SourceForbes, Business Insider

In 1946, without any management or restaurant experience, S. Truett and his brother Ben opened an Atlanta diner called the Dwarf Grill, later renamed the Dwarf House.

Truett Cathy

Source: Business Insider

It was there that they first served chicken sandwiches, mainly to Ford factory workers and airport employees who worked nearby.

truett cathy

Source: Forbes

Three years later, Ben died in a plane crash and Truett found himself handling the business on his own.

truett cathy

Source: Forbes

In 1967, he opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant at a mall in Atlanta.

truett cathy chick fil a

Source: Forbes

More than 60 years later, Chick-fil-A is a massive restaurant empire.

chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A

Today, it has more than 2,500 restaurants across 47 states and Washington, DC.

chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A

In 2019, it was the third-largest restaurant chain in the US by sales in 2019, bringing in $11.3 billion.

chickfila thanksgiving

Source: Insider

It’s the most profitable fast-food chain in America on a per-location basis, with the average per-unit revenue greater than $4 million.

Chick fil A
hick-fil-A cow and brand ambassador attend the PANDORA Discovery Den SXSW on March 17, 2016 in Austin, Texas.

Source: Business Insider, QSR

According to Forbes, Truett “practically invented the idea of a quickly served chicken sandwich.”

Chick-fil-A

Source: Forbes

Chick-fil-A is a family-owned business. Truett had three children with his wife, Jeannette: Dan, Don “Bubba,” and Trudy.

truett cathy office
Truett’s family photos.

Source: Forbes

When he passed away in 2014, he left the fast-food chain to his sons, Dan and Bubba. They’re America’s 21st-richest family-wealth “dynasty,” according to a recent report.

dan cathy
Dan Cathy.

Source: Forbes, The Silver Spoon Oligarchs Report 

Dan is Chick-fil-A’s chairman and CEO – he spends a lot of time visiting restaurants and grand openings across the US.

Dan Cathy

Source: Forbes, Forbes

It’s a fitting position for someone who grew up doing odd jobs at Chick-fil-A, including scraping chewing gum from table bottoms with a butter knife.

chick fil a dan cathy

Source: Forbes

He helped expand Chick-fil-A’s growth monetarily and geographically, opening restaurants in big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

Chick-fil-a
Chick-fil-A in Manhattan, New York.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Dan lives on a farm south of Atlanta with his wife, Rhonda. He has two sons, Andrew and Ross, and three grandchildren.

cathy dan

Source: Chick-fil-A

Outside of Chick-fil-A, he’s very involved in community organizations, including the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Aquarium, and Atlanta Committee for Progress. He’s particularly passionate about the revitalization of Atlanta’s Westside.

georgia aquarium

Source: Chick-fil-A

He also serves on multiple boards and is involved in ministries, philanthropies, and nonprofits such as City of Refuge, Passion City Church, and the Rock Ranch.

dan cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

In his spare time, Dan plays the trumpet, gardens, and landscapes.

dan cathy chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A

He also pilots small jets and rides motorcycles. He was previously a competitive wrestler.

chick fil a dan cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

His brother, Bubba, has held a number of positions in the company, including construction apprentice, and is the executive vice president.

Bubba Cathy photo (1)

Source: Chick-fil-A, Forbes

Like his brother, Bubba is a motorcyclist, leading groups on charity rides in the US. He’s also an avid sailor, taking groups on charity yacht voyages.

bubba cathy

Source: Forbes

Dan and Bubba both have fortunes of $7.1 billion, according to the most recent Forbes 400 list.

dan cathy

Source: Forbes 400

Their sister, Trudy Cathy White, began working for the family business at age 19 when she became operator of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama. Today, she’s an ambassador.

Trudy Cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

She’s also an author – her book “Climb Every Mountain” is published by Simon & Schuster.

climb every mountain trudy white

Source: Simon & Schuster

It could be said that she got the writing gene from her father, who published five books about business, motivation, and parenting during his lifetime.

truett cathy book

Source: Business Insider

She and her husband, John, have four children and 15 grandchildren.

trudy cathy white

Source: Trudy Cathy White

Truett raised his children in a “modest house” but had a car collection that included former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s 1937 Lincoln Continental, George Glaze’s Brewster 8 Town Car, and a 1931 Duesenberg.

truett cathy car collection

Source: Business Insider

The Cathy family is known for their Southern Baptist values – Chick-fil-A is famously closed on Sundays, restaurant openings often include prayer, and employees are advised “to base your business in biblical principles.”

chick fil a

Source: Forbes, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal

Truett and his wife created the WinShape Foundation in the 1980s, which donates money to Christian organizations and offers residential camps, a retreat center, and a foster home.

truett cathy

Source: Business Insider

Truett taught Sunday school for more than 50 years. Dan followed in his footsteps – he teaches Bible study on Sundays.

truett cathy chick fil a

Source: Chick-fil-A, Business Insider

The Whites served for 20 years with the International Mission Board. For half that time, they served as missionaries in Brazil, where they started a small church.

trudy white

Source: Chick-fil-A

They also cofounded Lifeshape and Impact 360 Institute, two religious nonprofits.

trudy cathy white

Source: Chick-fil-A

In 2012, Dan stirred controversy for his comments on gay marriage. In an interview with Baptist Press, he said he’s “guilty as charged” when it comes to supporting what he calls the “biblical definition of the family unit.”

chick fil a anti gay

Source: Baptist Press

WinShape was criticized for donating to anti-gay marriage groups – about $5 million since 2003, Forbes reported in 2012. Chick-fil-A told Insider in 2019 that giving to all but one of these organizations – Fellowship of Christian Athletes – has stopped.

chick fil a anti gay marriage

Source: Forbes, Forbes

Dan has said the chain doesn’t have an anti-gay agenda. “While my family and I believe in the biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees,” he previously said.

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Source: Forbes

Chick-fil-A may be considered controversial by some, but it also has a reputation for its commitment to customer service and employee experience: It’s received a number of rankings in both categories and has been dubbed the “Best Franchise Brand.”

Chick fil A

Source: Chick-fil-A

Its giving arm, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, is focused on providing support for youth and education programs nationwide. In 2017, they funded $150,000 programs for Salvation Army, including camps for kids and the Angel Tree program in Atlanta.

salvation army

Source: Chick-fil-A

And back in April 2020, Chick-fil-A donated $10.8 million to local communities for pandemic relief.

chick fil a pandemic
People walk past Chick-fil-A in New York City.

Source: Chick-fil-A

In 1973, Truett initiated a scholarship program called Remarkable Futures Initiative. It has awarded $75 million to nearly 53,000 team members, Chick-fil-A told Insider in 2019.

Chick-fil-A

Source: The Wall Street Journal

In 2021, it awarded $19 million in scholarships to restaurant team members.

Chick-fil-A

Source: Chick-fil-A

Franchisees have been known to cover costs for not just a worker’s education, but for support during a personal emergency. They also encourage employees to follow their dreams.

chick fil a

Source: Business Insider

Chick-fil-A’s employee culture translates to how the brand treats its customers, with a focus on quality food and a pleasant dining experience. It’s taken on a healthier menu, removing all trans fats from its foods, using only antibiotic-free meats, and even establishing an Innovation Center to develop recipes.

Chick-fil-A

Source: Business Insider

In 2018, it was rated the most beloved fast-food restaurant in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey.

Chick fil A

Source: Insider

Ever the family-owned business, Chick-fil-A has no plans to go public.

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Truett’s family photos.

Source: Insider

The Cathy family has been working together for more than 70 years and third-generation members continue to carry on the tradition – 12 of Truett’s grandchildren work at Chick-fil-A.

truett cathy mark cathy
Truett with grandson Mark Cathy.

Source: Forbes, Chick-fil-A

New York Times reporter Kim Severson wrote in 2012 that many people in Atlanta have respect for the Cathy family.

mark cathy
Mark Cathy.

Source: The New York Times

“People speak of the Cathys as if they were local royalty, and the company logo is as much a part of the Atlanta cityscape as Coca-Cola’s,” she wrote.

chick fil a

Source: The New York Times

When asked what was so smart about creating his chicken sandwich, Truett answered with, “Nothing. That’s why I was able to do it.”

S. Truett Cathy

Source: Chick-fil-A

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Chick-fil-A has been accused of wasting food daily after a TikTok video showed an employee throwing a tray of chicken nuggets in the trash

chick-fil-a
A Chick-fil-A said that when food falls outside a certain hold time it’s no longer able to safely serve it.

  • A Chick-fil-A employee has used a TikTok video to accuse the chain of wasting food daily.
  • A worker is shown to be tossing what appears to be a full tray of chicken nuggets into the trash.
  • The chain told Insider that food which falls outside a certain hold time is no longer safe to serve.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Chick-fil-A employee has posted a video on TikTok purporting to show the amount of chicken nuggets that are thrown out by the fast-food chain daily.

In the footage, the worker can be seen by what appears to be another employee tossing away a full tray of chicken nuggets into the trash. The caption of the now-viral video read: “What they do every night with the chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-A.”

@jlucvss

What they do every night with the chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-a #fyp

♬ original sound – jlucvss

The video, which only lasted a few seconds, has since amassed more than 7.4 million views, per Newsweek.

The outlet reported that a user commented: “The amount of food we throw away and the amount of starving people there are just doesn’t sit right with me.”

One person who said they formerly worked at Chick-fil-A wrote that the chain’s workers were not allowed to take home uneaten food, or they would be penalized. “I used to work at [Chick-fil-A] and we would get written up if we took food home and didn’t throw it out. They were stingy [as f***] which is why I quit,” they alleged, according to Newsweek.

A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A told Insider in response to the video: “We aren’t able to determine which Chick-fil-A restaurant this occurred at but can provide some clarity to what may have occurred. Chick-fil-A restaurants have high food safety and quality standards, so when food falls outside a certain hold time we’re no longer able to safely serve it in our restaurants.”

According to Chick-fil-A’s website, the chain has a food donation program called Chick-fil-A Shared Table, which launched in 2012. The program is intended to fight hunger in local communities “by donating surplus food to local soup kitchens, shelters and nonprofits to feed those in need.”

It is unclear, however, if the Chick-fil-A location filmed in the video was part of the program.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Burger King is promising to donate to an LGBTQ group for every chicken sandwich sold ‘even on Sundays’ amid calls to boycott Chick-fil-A

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Burger King rebrand.

  • Burger King will donate to the Human Rights Campaign for every chicken sandwich sold this month.
  • BK announced the initiative in a tweet aimed at Chick-fil-A.
  • Chick-fil-A is under fire for CEO donations to groups fighting LGBTQ protections.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Burger King says that for every Ch’King sandwich sold during June, which is Pride month, it will donate to The Human Rights Campaign.

The chain announced the donation plans in a tweet on June 3 that seemed pointed at Chick-fil-A, the reigning chicken sandwich fast food restaurant. BK says it will donate 40 cents for every chicken sandwich sold up to $250,000, or 625,000 sandwiches.

Chick-fil-A, which is famously closed on Sundays, is once again facing scrutiny over donations made by CEO Dan Cathy to groups fighting legislation for LGBTQ protections. Cathy is a “high-dollar donor” to the National Christian Charitable Foundation (NCF), one of the largest charities in the US with a history of funding opposition to The Equality Act, The Daily Beast reported.

Chick-fil-A itself no longer makes political donations.

Read more: Newly revealed CloudKitchen documents show how Travis Kalanick’s company is pivoting as new rivals enter the crowded ghost kitchen space

The Equality Act would expand civil rights protections to LGBTQ people, making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identification in employment, housing, and other areas. The NCF funds opposition to the bill through donations to groups fighting the legislation, including the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The Dan and Rhonda Cathy Foundation donated $5,750 to the NCF in 2018, 2017, and 2016, according to 990 tax filings.

Burger King’s Pride Month promotion is a chance for it to distinguish itself from the crowded chicken sandwich landscape. Burger King released the Ch’King sandwich on June 3 after two years of recipe testing.

KFC, Popeyes, and McDonald’s all sell their own versions of crispy chicken sandwiches, though Chick-fil-A remains the chain to beat. As of December 2020, Chick-fil-A still had by far the largest share of online chicken sandwiches sales at 45%. No other brand even reached 20%.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Chick-fil-A is gearing up to launch a chicken wing restaurant this year, a new trademark application suggests

Chick-fil-A
  • Chick-fil-A is planning a new delivery restaurant concept for Nashville and Atlanta.
  • Little Blue Menu will serve normal Chick-fil-A fare plus wings and other additions, like wings.
  • Applebees, Cracker Barrel, and others have opened delivery concept restaurants recently.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chick-fil-A has filed to trademark the name “Outfox Wings” ahead of a new restaurant concept slated to open later this year.

The chicken chain submitted a trademark application to US regulators on May 4, documents show. The logo “consists of the word OUTFOX over the word WINGS with the image of a fox’s face with its tail covering its mouth inside the middle of the first O in OUTFOX,” the filing says.

Chick-fil-A Outfox Wings trademark

Chick-fil-A has no plans to serve wings at already-existing restaurants, a spokesperson said, noting that the company is “exploring a new delivery kitchen concept to pilot later this year.”

The new concept is called Little Blue Menu and will launch in Nashville in late 2021 and Atlanta in 2022, the company announced Wednesday. It will serve “both the classic menu plus a variety of different cuisines – think salads, roasted chicken, wings and more – all made under one roof, arriving in one bundled order.”

In other words, some southern Chick-fil-A fans will be able to order their favorite spicy chicken sandwiches and fries along with Chick-fil-A’s first-ever wings.

Read more: Why big chains like Outback, Applebee’s, Cracker Barrel, and Chili’s are flooding delivery apps with virtual restaurant brands, even as hefty fees from Uber Eats cut into profits

The chain says the name is a reference to Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy’s original blue menus.

Other restaurant chains have also experimented with delivery concepts over the last year. Applebees launched Cosmic Wings, a delivery-only virtual brand with Cheetos-flavored wings. Outback Steakhouse parent company Bloomin’ Brands launched Tender Shack, a virtual chicken tender restaurant, and Cracker Barrel debuted a delivery chicken and biscuits concept in Indianapolis. “Outfox Wings,” could follow suit as a separate virtual restaurant.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I tried KFC’s new sauces and compared them with Chick-fil-A’s to see which comes out on top

KFC New sauces
KFC’s new lineup of sauces features a brand new “KFC sauce,” as well as revamped versions of its barbecue, ranch, and honey mustard sauces.

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken launched its new “KFC Sauce” along with revamped versions of its core condiment lineup in the fall.
  • The “KFC Sauce” features a sweet and smokey flavor, a strikingly similar mix of flavors to Chick-fil-A’s signature sauce.
  • I tried KFC’s new line of sauces and compared it with Chick-fil-A’s to see whose lineup was the best.
  • While KFC’s are still dunk-worthy, Chick-fil-A is still the reigning champion of sauces.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Chicken tenders are great, but the real superstars to any fast food cuisine are the dipping sauces.

In recognition of the importance of sauces, Kentucky Fried Chicken launched a new suite of condiments, including a never-before-seen, “KFC Sauce.”

The restaurant chain describes its new sauce as “tangy and sweet, with a bit of smokiness.”

For chicken-aficionados out there, you’ll notice KFC Sauce’s flavor profile is similar to Chick-fil-A Sauce, which the company describes as, “honey mustard and a smoky tang.”

KFC’s effort to create a competing sauce against Chick-fil-A is no small feat, but it is vital as the Georgia-based company continues to expand.

Chick-fil-A was the third-largest restaurant chain in the US in 2019, garnering a whopping $11.3 billion and earning more than Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Burger King.

And Chick-fil-A isn’t slowing down anytime soon as the company plans to continue expanding outside of the south.

That could spell trouble for KFC, who is already competing with the growing chain for dining dollars.

So who is saucy enough to reign supreme? I dipped in and compared KFC’s new line of sauces against Chick-fil-A’s lineup to see who is the best.

KFC sent me its line of new sauces in anticipation of its launch at all US restaurants on October 12.

KFC Sauce

I ordered a four-pack of the chain’s extra crispy tenders to dunk into the dipping sauces.

Chicken Tenders

I also ordered four-piece chicken strips from Chick-fil-A.

Chick fil A

To kick things off, I tried KFC’s new “Honey BBQ” sauce.

KFC

The sauce was sweet and lived up to the “honey” in its name. It tasted fine, but the flavor was pretty tame.

KFC

Next, I tried Chick-fil-A’s barbecue sauce.

Chick-fil-A

This was closer to a traditional barbecue sauce found at a grill out.

CHICK FIL A

The flavor was less sweet and relied more on savory-smokey tones. But it was still pretty muted and didn’t have any spice or pepperiness to it.

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Between KFC and Chick-fil-A, the barbecue sauces were tied. Picking one just depends on whether you’re in the mood for sweet or savory.

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For my second round of sauces, I went for KFC’s honey mustard.

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KFC’s honey mustard had a tiny hint of sharpness.

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But mostly, it was a watery-consistency and didn’t taste out of the ordinary.

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Chick-fil-A’s honey mustard was sweeter in comparison to KFC’s version of the sauce.

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It had a brownish-yellow tone and a vinegary-consistency.

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Still, it was nothing out of the ordinary. They were both just okay.

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Up next was KFC’s “classic” ranch.

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The sauce hit all the checkpoints I look for in a homemade ranch.

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The consistency was buttery and thick.

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There was a slight lactic-milk taste, but the herb mix was strong enough to contrast it with an oniony-kick.

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Overall, it met my Midwestern obsession for high-quality ranch.

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I cracked open Chick-fil-A’s “Garden Herb Ranch,” and while it was good, it didn’t live up to the KFC version.

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It still had a nice, herby-zing to it, but the sauce was thinner.

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If I brought KFC’s ranch to a Super Bowl party, people would be thanking me.

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Finally, I popped open KFC’s new house sauce.

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The KFC sauce tasted similar to a honey mustard with subtle hints of a smokey barbecue sauce.

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KFC Sauce isn’t thick, but it’s still packed with contrasting flavors that made each dip delightful.

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I enjoyed it more than the other KFC sauces and expect it to become a popular addition for tender dippers everywhere.

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Next up, I compared it to the iconic Chick-fil-A sauce.

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Both Chick-fil-A Sauce and KFC Sauce have a similar taste profile: Sweet, yet smokey. Tangy, but sharp. They were also similar in color.

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Chick-fil-A sauce was a tad bit sweeter, but the flavor was bolder than KFC’s offering.

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It also tasted like a sweet barbecue sauce mixed with sharp mustard.

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Its satisfyingly thick consistency and sweet, honey taste made Chick-fil-A Sauce absolutely addictive and superior to KFC Sauce.

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Overall, the honey mustard and barbecue sauces from both chains were on par with each other.

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KFC’s creamy ranch was definitely superior to Chick-fil-A’s offering.

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But if you put Chick-fil-A Sauce and KFC Sauce head-to-head, there is no doubt the beloved yellow sauce packet is still at the top of the pecking order.

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The sauce’s unique honey mustard and barbecue blend made me want to dunk my pizza into it, or maybe even drizzle it on a salad.

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But while KFC’s attempt to match its growing rival fell short, all of the new sauces, including KFC Sauce, are still dunk-worthy.

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How wearable pods designed to keep spectators dry at sporting events came to be used by drive-thru workers at Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’

cfa distance
  • Under the Weather produces weatherproof pods.
  • Most customers were sports fans and festival goers, but it pivoted to fit around COVID changes.
  • Drive-thru and curbside workers at Dunkin, Chick-fil-A, and Olive Garden have used them.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

You might have seen them on your most recent trip through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, on a plane, or at a kid’s sporting event. Under the Weather Pods are weather-resistant, screened-in structure that can be worn or sat in.

Rick Pescovitz designed the first pod in 2010 after he got the idea from an experience he had sheltering in a Porta Potty from bad weather during his daughter’s soccer game. The Porta Potty inspired the shape of the original pod, which was made based on a laundry basket with a steel wire structure, Pescovitz told Insider.

nevada soccer

The pods, which now come in more than 30 variations, were originally a big hit with parents like Pescovitz, and tailgaters, he said. Under the Weather began reaching out to crossing guards and ticket takers too, and business picked up in 2014. Since those early days, the company has sold a few hundred thousand pods according to Pescovitz

Read more: Chick-fil-A’s out-of-control drive-thru lines have it facing off against local businesses and battling lawsuits

When COVID hit the US in March 2020, it could have been disastrous for the niche company. Before the pandemic, 90% of customers were sports fans and music festival attendees, Pescovitz, said, and February through May was the busiest season. COVID essentially shut down all of the company’s usual business, and they were forced to pivot.

IntubationPodMinn

Peskovitz saw the need for PPE on the news and he thought, “we could do something like that.” Within four weeks Under the Weather had come up with a concept, samples, and the final product of the intubation pod, which provides extra protection for healthcare workers during one of the most potentially contagious procedures. Under the Weather donated and sold these pods to hospitals and EMTs.

Under the weather pods
Under the Weather Pods.

The wearable line has been the most popular since the start of the pandemic due to the rise of curbside pickup, Peskovitz told Insider. He says 25 to 30,000 sales can be directly attributed to COVID. Some Chick-fil-a locations use the walking pods for drive-thru and curbside employees, a deal that Peskovitz says has been “really good for us.”

Many people are “uncomfortable or too prideful,” to wear the pods, one Indiana Chick-fil-A employee told Insider. However, he likes them, saying “it keeps us dry, keeps iPads dry, blocks out the wind, and makes it more tolerable.”

NJ covid test

As drive-thru and curbside pickup continues to grow in importance, other brands are testing out the pods. Dunkin’ and Dutch Bros. Coffee have rolled them out, and they’re being tested at Portillos, Olive Garden, and Outback Steakhouse.

In the future, Peskovitz says he wants Under the Weather to grow sales to businesses and work with corporate chains directly, rather than finding interested franchisees to sell to separately. Private buyers can purchase pods directly from Under the Weather, or from Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Walmart.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Starbucks fired an employee over a TikTok video made at work as brands become increasingly wary of workers’ social media

starbucks barista
  • Starbucks fired an Indiana employee for a TikTok about demanding customers.
  • Workers at Chick-fil-A, Sherwin-Williams, and other companies have been fired after viral TikToks.
  • An analyst told Insider that companies are wary of anything that might damage the brand online.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A 19-year-old Starbucks barista says he was fired for posting a TikTok about work, Buzzfeed News reported.

Eli Servais posted a since-deleted video on TikTok in September showing ways he and his coworkers wish they could respond to demanding customers. “There were no customers there. We were closed or about to be closed, so we were just having fun. Nothing was broken or vandalized,” he told Buzzfeed.

Read more: Chick-fil-A’s out-of-control drive-thru lines have it facing off against local businesses and battling lawsuits

A Starbucks spokesperson told Buzzfeed that “there is an expectation that partners create a respectful, safe and welcoming environment.”

As TikTok’s popularity has grown, companies have struggled with how to deal with posts from employees. In July, an Ohio college student was fired by Sherman-Williams for his viral paint-mixing videos. Four airport employees in Fresno, California were fired last year after making videos of dance trends using airport equipment as props. A California Chick-fil-A worker said she was fired after posting a video of a menu-hack that gained millions of views.

These are just a few cases that have gained attention as companies decide how to police social media posts on the job. Nurses and cops are frequent offenders too, sometimes getting into trouble with managers, Fast Company reported.

Employees tend to feel that they’re giving companies positive attention.

“I personally don’t believe it is fair for employees to be fired over viral videos,” fired Chick-fil-A employee Ana told Insider in August. “I’m sure I gave Chick-fil-A a bunch of free publicity and don’t believe I should have been fired.”

In the case of the Fresno airport service agents, comments were almost entirely positive and commenters said that they shouldn’t have been fired. One of the workers, Tommy Chan, said that the head of airport social media told them “Nice video.”

The firing decisions can also be confusing to people outside the company. There are thousands of TikToks seemingly made by Starbucks baristas at work, and most don’t make the news. Law professor Elizabeth C. Tippett wrote that “even the most innocuous videos likely violate standard corporate social media policies.

Employees are often bound by social media policies that prohibit speaking on behalf of the company and using the brand without permission. Starbucks declined to share any further details about this specific case with Insider.

Until relatively recently, there were few ways for a young, low-level employee to create something about business viewed by millions, Kalinowski Equity Research founder Mark Kalinowski told Insider. Now it’s easy thanks to social media, most recently TikTok, and “ultimately any large company wants their brand to become more valuable over time, so they want to control their image,” Kalinowski said.

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Chick-fil-A is bringing its beloved sauces to more grocery stores. Walmart, Publix, HEB, and grocers in all states will get bottles this spring.

chick fil a sauce
  • Chick-fil-A is bringing 16-ounce sauces to stores across the US this spring.
  • Ten more states will have access to Chick-fil-A and Polynesian sauces by the end of March.
  • Restaurants also sell 8-ounce containers of all sauces.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chick-fil-A’s popular sauces will soon be available at more locations than ever, the company confirmed to Insider.

16-ounce bottles of Chick-fil-A and Polynesian sauce will be available in ten states beginning later in March, Chick-fil-A said. Customers will be able to purchase the sauces in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Food Lion, Harris Teeter, HEB, Publix, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie will carry them, the company told Insider.

The full-sized sauces will be available across the US “later this spring.”

Read more: Chick-fil-A’s out-of-control drive-thru lines have it facing off against local businesses and battling lawsuits

Chick-fil-A first introduced bottled sauces in 2020 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. The company doesn’t release sales numbers, but it’s safe to say the sauces are popular given the number of copycat recipes around the internet.

Participating Chick-fil-A locations also sell eight ounce bottles of Chick-fil-A sauces, including Barbeque, Honey Mustard and Garden Herb Ranch.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Chick-fil-A customers across the US faced chaos – and free chicken – when the chain’s payments system crashed

chick fil a drive thru worker
Chick-fil-A customers received free food in the face of a system outage.

  • Chick-fil-A was unable to process payments for roughly an hour on Friday. 
  • The outage was tied to the chain’s third-party payment system. 
  • Many Chick-fil-A customers ended up getting free food when they were unable to pay.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Many Chick-fil-A customers faced an unexpected disruption on Friday. 

A representative for Chick-fil-A confirmed to Insider that the chain’s third-party payment vendor experienced an outage across many businesses that they serve on Friday. For roughly an hour, Chick-fil-A locations’ payment systems were unable to process payments. 

The problem has been resolved, and restaurants are once again processing payments as normal as of 1:45 pm ET on Friday, the representative said. 

For some customers however, there was a silver lining. Many Chick-fil-A locations started handing out free meals during the outage. 

Chick-fil-A has some of the longest drive-thru lines in fast food due to its immense popularity. The lengthy lines can create disruption even without an outage creating further confusion. 

Insider recently reported that Chick-fil-A is facing three separate lawsuits from local businesses who allege the chain’s drive-thru lines are causing problems. The chain is working to speed up drive-thru lines by having workers take orders on iPads, as well as rolling out new drive-thru designs and opening more locations. 

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Chick-fil-A is still the chicken sandwich king among people ordering delivery

Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich
  • Chick-fil-A is the most popular delivery choice among chicken sandwich sellers.
  • The chain had a 45% market share in December, with Popeyes in a distant second.
  • The crowded chicken sandwich world continues to grow as more brands introduce menu items.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In the ongoing chicken sandwich wars, Chick-fil-A is easily the delivery winner with 45% of the market share.

Fast food brands have been competing in the red-hot chicken sandwich segment since August 2019, when Popeyes introduced a fried chicken sandwich. Online spats and snarky tweets quickly created a rivalry between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A in the months since. 

But despite the ongoing competition between the two top chicken sandwich chains, Chick-fil-A has been the nearly undisputed winner in online orders for nearly two years. The chain’s streak was only broken briefly in January 2020, when Popeyes overtook it in market share, according to data from Edison Trends.

In December 2020, the most recent month Edison has data for, Chick-fil-A was the clear winner with 45% of online order market share. Popeyes was a distant second with 17%, only barely beating McDonald’s 16%.

chicken sandwich wars feb 2021 chart 1

The top four restaurants, Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s, have all maintained their rankings since February 2020, but the introduction of several new chicken sandwich menu items has the potential to shake up the market in 2021.

The chicken sandwich fast food space is already crowded and growing, but there seems to be an appetite among consumers. Online spending on chicken sandwiches grew 420% between January 2019 and December 2020, according to Edison Trends.

Insider has reported that several chains gearing up to introduce competitors to Chick-fil-A and Popeyes, both of which sell crispy chicken sandwiches with pickles. In January, KFC introduced a crispy chicken sandwich at nine locations, available across the country by the end of February, and Jimmy John’s dropped its own version of the chicken sandwich in a Super Bowl ad. Burger King announced a new chicken sandwich coming later this year, and McDonald’s is bringing its own entry this month. Shake Shack is launching a limited-edition chicken sandwich collab in Houston, and even Taco Bell announced a chicken sandwich taco coming later this year.

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