Here's How Chick-Fil-A's Dan Cathy Got His Start

While you may not know Dan Cathy by name, you almost certainly know his product Chick-fil-A, which is one of the most popular fried chicken chains in the United States. Despite only being open six days a week, the chain sells upwards of 4 million spicy chicken sandwiches each month (via Facebook) and earns about $9 billion in sales per year, according to Fox Business. And Dan is the man in charge of making that happen. But he didn't always hold such a prestigious position. Instead, he learned the ropes of the fast-food restaurant business the old-fashioned way: through hard work. 

Dan Cathy is the eldest son of S. Truett Cathy, who founded Chick-fil-A in 1946. But while his father may have founded the business, that doesn't mean Dan was automatically appointed to a cushy job at the company from the start. Rather, his father put him to work "roughly nine months before I was born," as Dan jokingly recalled, making sure he fully understood all the ins and outs of the business by having him do odd — often unglamorous — jobs at the restaurant.

As a child, Dan Cathy was put to work doing menial work at Chick-fil-A

Dan Cathy spent his youth doing menial work at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Dwarf Grill, entertaining guests, performing odd tasks, and even using a butter knife to scrape old chewing gum off the bottom of tables. "Dad would give us each a butter knife so we could scrape the chewing gum (and other things) from the bottoms of each table. We would do that almost every day. It was all very glamorous," he recalled, via Chick-fil-A. But all that hard work eventually paid off.

In 2014, S. Truett Cathy passed away, and Dan Cathy took over the company along with his brother, Bubba Cathy. Since then, Dan has overseen massive growth at the company, as he has expanded the Atlanta-based business into major cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, according to Business Insider. Indeed, Dan now has a net worth of around $5.4 billion, according to Forbes. But even though he may now be the top dog at the company, it seems Dan still values his humble beginnings and continues to try to lead through service today. "Selfless, servant leadership is about action. And the bottom line is that what we say and what we believe will only be as effective as what we are also willing to do," he says, via Chick-fil-A.