Chick-fil-A gives its franchisees a huge perk if they meet sales goals: a new car.
Franchisees who meet the goals get to select any Ford model to drive for free for one year.
If they meet the same goal for a second consecutive year, they get to keep the car.
The program was started by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy.
Cathy was a “car buff,” Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander told Business Insider.
“He enjoyed collecting cars, but the connection is even more personal,” she said. “His first restaurant was near a Ford manufacturing plant, and the workers in that plant were among his most loyal customers.”
The Ford plant was located across the street from the first Chick-fil-A, and workers would often visit the restaurant during their lunch breaks.
As Chick-fil-A grew from one location to hundreds, Cathy started the car reward program to reward his best franchisees.
Jimmy Collins was president of Chick-fil-A in the 1970s when the program was started.
“When we reviewed the sales at the end of 1974 and realised that we had an operator, John Moniz, who had achieved a 41% sales increase, we were amazed,” Collins said in a company video.
“Our thoughts were: if we could motivate other people to do what John had done, it would be great not only for the organisation but it would be great for individual operators,” he said.
Back then, the company set a goal for operators to achieve at least a 40% sales increase over the prior year to win a car. The car that was awarded to operators was a Lincoln Continental Mark IV, which was manufactured by Ford.
These days, the threshold for winning a car is a 17% sales increase over the prior year.
So how many operators typically win?
Sixty-nine operators won cars in 2012, according to the Norcross Patch. Chick-fil-A didn’t provide any more recent data on the program. Chick-fil-A has roughly 1,700 restaurants in the US.
Collins said the program has been a success.
“I think today we can look back and say this helped to build the business, this helped to get operators make their stores more successful,” he said.
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