I never cease to be amazed at the success achieved by Georgia Southern alumni in conjunction with the continued success of the university itself. A wonderful example of this is the pairing of this year's spring undergraduate commencement ceremony with the Chick-fil-A restaurant in the Russell Student Union building on campus.
Dan Cathy, president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A will serve as the speaker for the commencement ceremony May 14. Cathy graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1975 with a degree in Business Administration.
As timing would have it, the Chick-fil-A at GSU was recently recognized as having the highest sales of any Chick-fil-A on a college or university campus in the year 2010. The university restaurant also earned that same recognition in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 as well. There are approximately 37 college-based Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country, and these are considered to be "licensed, non-traditional outlets" by the company versus the "stand alone" and mall locations that many of you are familiar with.
Just in case you are curious, gross sales for the GSU restaurant in fiscal year 2010 (July - June) were $2,733,909.67. For that period, average product sales per week (Monday - Friday) were waffle fries - 5,275; Chick-fil-A sandwiches - 4,430; Chick-fil-A spicy sandwiches - 3,290.
Joseph F. Cason, Jr. (GSU '99), employed with Eagle Dining Services, serves as manager of the GSU Chick-fil-A. Cason is very proud of what his store is continually able to accomplish.
"We have an awesome team here," Cason said. "You really have to understand the culture of Chick-fil-A, and our team embodies that culture, and they do a great job. We were designed to serve a campus of 8,000 students, so you can imagine how well everyone must work together to achieve the sales that we have."
Cason said he had worked for Chick-fil-A after graduation when he lived in Perry, but wasn't sure if he would have that opportunity again when he moved to Statesboro.
"I was working in food service at GSU, specifically in catering, and when the management position came available at Chick-fil-A, I went for it," he said. "This is my fourth year, and I am very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work with this restaurant."
Cason said he isn't sure if Cathy is going to stop by and visit the GSU Chick-fil-A when he is here for the commencement.
"I certainly hope he does, and we'll be ready," he said. "I will have my suit and 'cow' tie on, just in case."
Chick-fil-A began its licensing program in 1992 with the opening of its first licensed Chick-fil-A Restaurant at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Georgia Southern's restaurant came on board in 1997.