The chain's origin can be traced to the Dwarf Grill (now the Dwarf House, see below), a restaurant opened by S. Truett Cathy, the chain's current Chairman and CEO, in 1946. The restaurant is located in Hapeville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, and is near the location of the now-demolished Ford Motor Company Atlanta Assembly Plant, for many years a source of many of the restaurant's patrons.
In 1961, after 15 years in the fast food business, Cathy found a pressure-fryer that could cook the chicken sandwich in the same amount of time it took to cook a fast-food hamburger. Following this discovery, he registered the name Chick-fil-A, Inc. The company's current trademarked slogan, "We Didn't Invent the Chicken, Just the Chicken Sandwich," refers to their flagship menu-item, the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich.
The first Chick-fil-A opened in 1967 in the food court of the Greenbriar Mall, in a suburb of Atlanta. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the chain expanded by opening new franchises in suburban malls' food courts. The first freestanding franchise was opened in 1986 and the company began to focus more on this type of franchise than on the food court type. Although it has expanded outward from its original geographic base, most new restaurants are located in Southern suburban areas. As of 2012, the chain has approximately 1000 stand-alone locations. It also has 32 drive-through-only locations. Chick-fil-A also can be found at universities, hospitals, and airports through licensing agreements.
Since 1994, the Atlanta-based company has been the title sponsor of the Peach Bowl, an annual college football bowl game played in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. Beginning in the 2006 season, the Peach Bowl became the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Chick-fil-A also is a key sponsor of the SEC,and ACC of college athletics.
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