The 2013 Golden Chain award winners represent the best the restaurant industry has to offer. To celebrate the winners, NRN outlines each executive’s road to the top and dives into the strategies they used to build brands and inspire people. Find out more about this year's winners >>
Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A
Dan Cathy was named president and chief operating officer at Chick-fil-A in 2001. Since then, Cathy has steered the Atlanta-based quick-service chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy, through major growth, adding about 700 units — many far beyond the chain’s Southeast home base. At the end of 2012, privately held Chick-fil-A had 1,669 units and systemwide sales of more than $4.5 billion.
Cathy, a self-proclaimed obsessive when it comes to customer service, oversaw the launch several years ago of the brand’s “Second-Mile Service” program, which encourages all employees to exceed expectations whenever possible. He also is known for regaling brand fans with his trumpet at new unit openings. In his personal life, Cathy is a devoted Christian, a licensed pilot and a marathon runner. He also won the Golden Chain Award in 2005.