Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A celebrated its 42nd year of consecutive sales growth Tuesday with praise to God.
"Chick-fil-A has truly been blessed to have had another year of sales growth during these difficult economic times," stated Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan T. Cathy in an announcement Tuesday.
"We have sensed God's continued blessings on this business, especially during these unprecedented economic times," he added.
In the year 2009, while most in the restaurant industry saw declines, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A witnessed its largest annual sales figure ever – $3.2 billion, up by 8.6 percent from the year before. The company also opened 83 new restaurants in 2009, including 69 stand-alone restaurants, one mall location, and 13 licensed outlets.
"While we by no means are immune to the economic challenges our country is facing, we do believe we will continue to remain healthy as long as we stay committed to the qualities that have shaped the Chick-fil-A brand thus far: providing exception customer service and unmatched product quality to every customer on every visit," reported Cathy, whose company claims to have produced the fast-food industry's first chicken sandwich.
As Chick-fil-A's retention rate continues to be among the highest in the industry – at 97 percent – Cathy predicts that 2010 will be a "banner year" for the company and "perhaps our most notable year ever."
The company will be looking toward reaching the $4-billion mark now that it's surpassed $3 billion for the first time – just three years after surpassing the $2-billion mark and nine years after surpassing the $1-billion mark.
"God has truly blessed our business and we pray that He will continue to keep His hand upon us," Cathy stated after announcing last year's milestone.
The company's official statement of corporate purpose says that the business exists "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
Unlike other major fast-food chains, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays in keeping with God's commandment to remember and keep holy the Sabbath day.
Cathy's father, Chick-fil-A Founder and Chairman S. Truett Cathy, says the decision was the company's way of honoring God and directing their attention to things more important than their business.