Honors Theses

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Dwight Frink

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

From humble beginnings to industry giants, three companies have combined for over 163 years of implementing innovative business models and growing sales across the globe. Chick-fil-A, McDonald's, and Wendy's have accounted for tens of billions of dollars in sales revenue since their respective inceptions. Chick-fil-A is a family-owned company started and run by S. Truett Cathy and his children. McDonald's is an industry juggernaut created by Ray Kroc, and Dave Thomas founded Wendy's. Over the years, Chick-fil-A has prioritized its growth by maintaining their high quality standards in exchange for a slower growth rate. McDonald's has grown rapidly to an enormous size and expanded across the world. Wendy's followed a growth pattern similar to McDonald's, but experienced a halt in growth around the late 1990s. While their overall financial success is comparable, their guiding philosophies and ideologies are somewhat different. Chick-fil-A, in particular, has a unique outlook on how to run a business — to make business decisions based on biblical principles. While customer loyalty can be difficult to measure, Chick-fil-A seems to have a customer base that identifies with Chick-fil-A's values and has proven to be loyal supporters even throughout recent controversy. Employee satisfaction ratings for Chick-fil-A also indicate how highly they value their human resources. With McDonald's and Wendy's falling well behind in such metrics, Chick-fil-A holds a specific advantage in both customer and employee satisfaction. All three companies are active philanthropically, giving large sums of money to various internal and external charities each year. Although Chick-fil-A does not lead in overall sales volume, same-store sales growth and customer satisfaction ratings show Chick-fil-A's unique business model can thrive in the modern business world.

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