Link Copied

Meet the Cathys, heirs to the Chick-fil-A empire, who have a fortune of more than $11 billion and are one of America's wealthiest family 'dynasties'

The Cathy family's multi-billion fortune is rooted in the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.

The Cathy family's multi-billion fortune is rooted in the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.

Source: Forbes, Business Insider

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

Today, it has more than 2,300 restaurants across 47 states and Washington, DC.

Today, it has more than 2,300 restaurants across 47 states and Washington, DC.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

In 2018, it generated more than $10 billion in revenue, signifying 51 consecutive years of sales growth.

In 2018, it generated more than $10 billion in revenue, signifying 51 consecutive years of sales growth.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Business Insider, QSR

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

When he passed away in 2014, he left the fast food chain to his sons, Dan and Bubba. They have a collective reported $11 billion fortune, making them America's 15th-richest family wealth "dynasty," according to a recent report.

When he passed away in 2014, he left the fast food chain to his sons, Dan and Bubba. They have a collective reported $11 billion fortune, making them America's 15th-richest family wealth "dynasty," according to a recent report.

Source: Forbes, The Billionaire Bonanza Report

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Forbes, Forbes

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

He helped expand Chick-fil-A's growth monetarily and geographically, opening restaurants up in big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Manhattan.

He helped expand Chick-fil-A's growth monetarily and geographically, opening restaurants up in big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Manhattan.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

He also serves on multiple boards and is involved in ministries, philanthropies, and non-profits like City of Refuge, Passion City Church, and The Rock Ranch.

He also serves on multiple boards and is involved in ministries, philanthropies, and non-profits like City of Refuge, Passion City Church, and The Rock Ranch.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Chick-fil-A, Forbes

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

Dan and Bubba both have fortunes of $5.5 billion, according to the most recent Forbes 400 list.

Dan and Bubba both have fortunes of $5.5 billion, according to the most recent Forbes 400 list.

Source: The Billionaire Bonanza Report

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

She's also an author — her book, "Climb Every Mountain" is published by Simon & Schuster.

She's also an author — her book, "Climb Every Mountain" is published by Simon & Schuster.

Source: Simon & Schuster

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Trudy Cathy White

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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."

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."

Source: Forbes, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal

Share Slide

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 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.

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Chick-fil-A, Business Insider

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

They also co-founded Lifeshape and Impact 360 Institute, two religious non-profits.

They also co-founded Lifeshape and Impact 360 Institute, two religious non-profits.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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."

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."

Source: Baptist Press

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Forbes, Forbes

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Forbes

Share Slide

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 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."

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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 Business Insider.

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 Business Insider.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Share Slide

In 2018, it awarded $14.65 million in scholarships to restaurant team members. This year, it plans to award $15.3 million to 6,000 team members nationwide.

In 2018, it awarded $14.65 million in scholarships to restaurant team members. This year, it plans to award $15.3 million to 6,000 team members nationwide.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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 and using only antibiotic-free meats and even established an Innovation Center to develop recipes.

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 and using only antibiotic-free meats and even established an Innovation Center to develop recipes.

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Business Insider

Share Slide

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.

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.

Source: Forbes, Chick-fil-A

Share Slide

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

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

Source: The New York Times

Share Slide

"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.

"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.

Source: The New York Times

Share Slide

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

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

Source: Chick-fil-A

Share Slide
More from our Partners