Atlanta - S. Truett Cathy, founder and chairman emeritus of Chick-fil-A Inc., died at the age of 93 on Sept. 8.
Cathy got his start in 1946, when he opened a diner in a suburb of Atlanta. He invented the Chick-fil-A sandwich in 1964 and opened the company's first restaurant in Atlanta in 1967. Under his leadership, the quick-serve eatery grew into one of the nation’s largest family-owned companies, with annual sales of $5 billion in 2013. Currently, there are more than 1,800 Chick-fil-A restaurants operating in 40 states and Washington, D.C.
Cathy was well-known for his conservative Christian beliefs. In 2012, the company came under fire when Cathy's son, company president (and current CEO and chairman) Dan Cathy, went public to defend Chick-fil-A’s support of "the biblical definition of the family unit." His comments ignited a controversy and the company found itself the subject of boycotts from gay-rights and liberal groups. Chick-fil-A issued a statement saying its culture is "to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, creed, race, sexual orientation or gender."
Chick-fil-A remains privately held and family owned. And all locations remain closed on Sundays.