Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator Interview Questions

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Helpful (14)  

Owner Operator Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Atlanta, GA
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied online. The process took 4+ months. I interviewed at Chick-fil-A (Atlanta, GA) in July 2015.

Interview

Lengthy, detailed and personal.

1. Complete an Expression of Interest form: Simple, not detailed but it basically wants to find out if you understand the fundamental relationship that Chick-fil-A has with its Operators.

2. After 1-3 weeks, if you successfully complete the Expression of Interest Form by demonstrating you understand what Chick-fil-A is about and what it means to be an Operator you will be invited to complete a 25+ page application detailing your life story, your goals, dreams and reasons for wanting to go into business with Chick-fil-A. They ask for personal financial balance sheet as well. This is very time consuming and they give you about 60 days to complete it. Leave no stone unturned here because every possible risk factor about you will be discussed. If you do not mention it here, it will be discovered eventually. Be honest and be yourself. Chick-fil-A is looking for five main things: Character, Chemistry, Competence, an Entrepreneurial Spirit, and a Growth Mindset. I would argue a sixth characteristic, Leadership, which is critical for moving forward in the selection process.

3. After 1-2 months, if your 25-page life story aligns with Chick-fil-A's vision of a successful Operator they will invite you to complete a Video Teleconference Interview with pre-recorded questions. In this step you will have the chance to answer some of the same questions you were asked in the written interview. This time however, you will be recorded live. You will have limited to time prepare yourself for each answer because you cannot pause the interview. Once its starts, it does not stop except for 20 seconds between each question. Have all your notes in front of you for a quick review before answering the questions. Again, the interview never stops and you cannot pause it.

4. After 1-2 months, if you are able to successfully talk about how you think you align with Chick-fil-A as their next successful Operator then you will be invited to have a phone conversation with a real person. Keep in mind that up until this point, Chick-fil-A is still heavily relying upon Contractors to screen their pool of applicants. At this point the pool of applicants has dwindled from about 30,000 (on an annual basis) to less than 5,000. They still have a lot of work to do to figure out who they will invite to Atlanta for in person interviews! In this interview, the interviewer did a "Character" interview. None of the questions had to do with running a business successfully but rather had everything to do with who I was and how I became the person that I am today. Some studies have shown that 90% of the time that a hire does not work out is because of reasons associated with character as opposed to competence in the field. Chick-fil-A has such a large pool of candidates to choose from they can be extremely selective! If your character (as interpreted from your life story) presents too large of a risk then they will simply continue with other candidates. And by character, this does not just mean "making the right decisions" in life but also "why you made the decisions in life that you did." Even if you made some decisions for the "right" reasons they may not be aligned with what Chick-fil-A interprets as a character trait a successful Operator will have.

5. The phone interview provides a very large drop in candidates. If you are successful in the phone interview you will be invited to Atlanta for 8 to 10 one on one in person interviews. I did not make it this far but I was told by the interviewer that it would be 2-4 months before I would be scheduled to interview in Atlanta.

6. If you are successful with your first round of Atlanta interviews you (and your spouse) will be invited for a second round of in person interviews in Atlanta. Again, I did not make it this far but this is what the phone interviewer and a current and recently selected Chick-fil-A Operator told me. The Operator I spoke with told me that this is when he was offered a store.

One thing to keep in mind is that a person may be THE PERFECT candidate. BUT, if you are the perfect candidate and you want to get a restaurant in an area where Chick-fil-A is not expanding (Southeast) you will likely be eliminated early in the process.

Interview Questions

  • Without saying the brand of Chick-fil-A, explain why you want to go into the franchise restaurant business?   Answer Question
  • How do you leverage data in your current job?   Answer Question
  • If a member of your team comes up with an idea, how do you respond?   Answer Question
  • Give us an example of a time when you had to fire someone? How did you make that decision?   Answer Question
  • Tell us a little about yourself that we may not already know?   Answer Question

Other Interview Reviews for Chick-fil-A

  1. Helpful (10)  

    Owner/Operator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Atlanta, GA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 12+ months. I interviewed at Chick-fil-A (Atlanta, GA) in December 2013.

    Interview

    The process is designed to be extremely personal, probing and intentionally long. It starts with a benign questionnaire on their website. CFA receives ten of thousands applications each year and have a relatively small staff to review them. Add to that the many internal applicants gunning for leadership positions. Any blemish on that initial application, and you won't get a call. At every step in this process, the recruiting team selects a subset of applicants to make it to the next step, and they validate as a team your previous answers (from the interview you had a few weeks or months before) and determine a rank. The only formula to succeed is to make yourself vulnerable putting it all on the table.

    You will then get an invite for a web chat in which you meet with one of their recruiters. Most of the probing questions here are geared towards determining your position on Leadership. Leadership and management are not the same thing and CFA wants to promote leaders, not managers. Speaking of servant leadership and how you apply these into your every day position gets you through this initial step. Of course, if you fail to have any of the fundamental qualities of a leader or have no history in business management, dealing with people or resolving conflict, it will be unlikely that you'll proceed to the next round.

    After this, you'll be invited for an in-person interview (at your expense) on premises, or nearby to their HQs near ATL. Here you'll meet with other members of the recruiting team that will start drilling down on your character, makeup, drives, strengths, weaknesses and aspirations. Make sure you can answer the basic question: Why do you want to fry chicken for a living? They also want to ensure you fit their perfect view of a restaurant operator...remember, they can be very selective. When I went through this step, they were looking to open just a few hundred restaurants in the coming year. The mathematical odds favor CFA, not the applicant.

    Once through this step, you visit their HQ, take the tour and meet the rest of the recruiting staff (if you haven't already). This is where the "getting to know you" phase ends and the real competition for the few restaurant-opening-available-slots begins. At this point, they know you can run a restaurant. After all, you've proven through the previous steps to possess the leadership and business acumen required. So, it's the differentiators that they're after in this step. Will you be a good fit with their business consultants? Will you uphold the CFA way? Are you ready for the CFA lifestyle? The recruiting team is looking to find a match to any of the available stores, and if you make it through this step the questions become more direct and guided towards that specific opportunity (as you would be meeting with the actual team that would support you as an operator). During this time they will also set time to talk to your references.

    Overall, the biggest negative with the process is the communication from the recruiting team. They will call/reach out, you'll have a conversation, and they'll go dark - sometimes for a few months. For a company that has leadership as its cornerstone, they have a lot of room to improve in this area. At every point in the process, they'll will remind you that they will not tell you the reasons if you're not selected for the next step/round, and they only send a "dear John" when it happens. My advice to CFA is that after a year (or more) of getting to know an applicant and having him/her spend lots of emotional capital on CFA, an impersonal form letter informing them you've decided to pursue other applicants is contrary to every leadership quality you pursue.

    Interview Questions

    • Leadership vs Management   1 Answer
    • Servant Leadership   1 Answer
    • Frying chicken for a living...   1 Answer
    • Entrepreneurship   1 Answer
    • How's your wife doing? What about her work/career if selected for this position?   2 Answers

  2. Helpful (12)  

    Owner/Operator Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 12+ months. I interviewed at Chick-fil-A (Atlanta, GA).

    Interview

    CFA uses a very rigorous 12-24 month screening process for selecting Owner/Operators. It is based on the book "Who" by Smart & Street. There are seven stages to the process and each stage has a specific purpose As an example, in the Topgrading stage the interviewers review your educational and employment history in EXTREME detail. They start at high school and work forward to the present. In this stage they are looking for trends - positive and negative.

    The interviewers are extremely professional and courteous. They reflect the high value the CFA organization places on valuing the individual. They are very quick to give you the results of your most recent step. They understand that the lengthy nature of their process can be disruptive and they work very hard to minimize that.

    This company is a class act.

    Interview Questions

    • You told us about leaving Employer A because Employer B made you an "offer you couldn't refuse". But certainly there had to be something at Employer A that wasn't quite as you wanted it to be to make you leave. Can you tell me about that?   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    No negotiation.

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