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Bench with Benson: Chick-fil-A franchise owner shares secrets to success

8 On Your Side

Chick-fil-A is a restaurant on a roll.

It’s a restaurant that has enjoyed unprecedented growth as well as huge revenues – and they’re even closed on Sundays.

Gus Mir, a Tampa Bay area man who’s been there from the beginning, goes On the Bench With Benson this week to discuss the quirks, secrets and controversy around one of the hottest fast food chains going.

You can watch their full interview above.

Josh: Hey Gus, thanks for being here.

Gus: My pleasure. 

Josh: Have a seat.

Gus: Thank you.

Josh: Did you ever envision that you’d dedicate your life around the chicken?

Gus: I was attracted to Chick-fil-A because I was 15 years old and I wanted a job. So I started working for Doris Williams in 1981. 

Josh: So she opened the very first Chick-fil-A? 

Gus: She opened the very first mall restaurant in 1967. 

Josh: So she knew what she was doing? 

Gus: She sure did.

Josh: Tell us what you do for Chick-fil-A. 

Gus: Well, I’m a restaurant operator, I have two individual franchises in Pinellas County.

Josh: Is Chick-fil-A downright owning the fast food industry right now? 

Gus: Well, we’ve experienced really unprecedented growth for our company. The cornerstones are just a great restaurant experience, great quality, served by great people.

Josh: When you see people wrapped around the building and for someone who’s never been there, they think, “Naw, I’m not going to wait.” But you can get them through pretty quickly. 

Gus: We do. And think about it, we’re serving about 140 guests in the drive-thru in one of our peak hours. That’s a car at the window every 24 seconds. Somewhere in there.

Josh: I read a stat that you use more lemons than the country of Japan. 

Gus: Our freshly squeezed lemonade is one of our cornerstone menu items. 

Josh: But that takes a lot of time. 

Gus: It takes a lot of time, every lemon is freshly squeezed in the restaurant.

Josh: When I pull up, I see a really happy person, a very polite person. They have the food ready. It’s rarely wrong, if ever. What’s the secret there? 

Gus: We select enthusiastic people. People that love other people and serving guests. And we see some of the faces literally three to five times per week.

Josh: The franchise, I heard, it’s not that expensive – is that true? 

Gus: It’s not that expensive. It’s a franchise fee upfront, it doesn’t take a lot of working capital but it does take active involvement in the business.

Josh: But it’s competitive. 

Gus: It’s very competitive. Sometimes it’s harder to get into the C.F.A. (Chick-fil-A), then the C.I.A. because of their selection standards.

Josh: What has it done to allow you to tap into the community? 

Gus: It’s really given us a foundation where we are able to take good care of people in the community. We rallied 400 team members at the USF Sun Dome last fall and assembled 167,000 meals for Feeding Children Everywhere.

Josh: There has been a little bit of controversy I wanted to ask you about, alleged funding for anti-LGTBQ organizations. Surely you must be asked about that. 

Gus: Josh, I would tell you that a simple question that you asked deserves a simple answer. And that is we’re a restaurant company that’s focused on great food, served by great people in a warm and welcoming environment for everyone. That’s my simple answer.

Josh: What is the hardest party of running your franchises right now? 

Gus: The hardest part is keeping and retaining great people.

Josh: Well thanks so much for being with us, Gus. 

Gus: Thank you. 

Josh: Appreciate it, have a great day.

If you know someone who has a great story and should be On the Bench with Benson, drop Josh a line on Facebook or email him at jbenson@wfla.com.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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