Operating a Chick-fil-A was an unlikely path for Truett McConnell University (TMU) alum and history major Carter Tucker.
Tucker, who graduated in 2009, had every intention of teaching history. Yet, God had other plans for him. His story began at a table in the TMU dining hall where representatives from WinShape Camp, a foundation created and sponsored by Chick-fil-A, recruited camp counselors.
Carter signed up for the summer camp opportunity and shared how those next few summers left him with many memories, including meeting another camp counselor Amanda, whom he would later marry. “While I was at WinShape,” he said, “I learned a lot about Chick-fil-A’s mission, community involvement, and compassion for serving others.
Chick-fil-A is known for its policy of closing on Sundays so that associates can spend time with their families and attend church. The business is also active in supporting the surrounding communities. “I really wanted to be a part of what they were doing,” Tucker said, “and I always thought I would be a history teacher and baseball coach; however, God had other plans. I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”
Soon after graduation, Tucker began his career at the fast-food restaurant as a team member. “I was hired on at Chick-fil-A and spent about two years going from a team member to general manager,” he said. During this time, Tucker spent time completing management and development programs, as well as working in the home office, which helped to prepare him for the position he currently has today.
When an opportunity to become an owner/operator of an existing restaurant arose, Tucker and his wife moved to Arkansas to begin this new position in a local mall setting. The alum worked in the location for several years until he was approached about opening a new location in the Maumelle area (about twenty miles north of Little Rock). “It was an exciting move for us, to say the least. We now have a beautiful building, a drive-thru, the ability to serve more customers, and seventy employees,” he said.
From humble beginnings in the north Georgia mountains to a successful restaurant in Arkansas, Tucker attributes the biblical influence at TMU as preparation for his challenges and success.
Tucker recalls his relationships with fellow classmates, staff, and professors as positive influences in his life.
“The relationships that I made at Truett were intentional. Friends that God placed in my life like Jonathan Morris, (who at the time worked with security and now as Director of Student Development) even nine years later, still check in with me and are a part of my life,” Tucker said, “And with my employees today, my goal is to mentor them and provide those same intentional relationships that I received from my professors and the staff at Truett.”
Tucker also explained how the professors provided the support inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. “My professors pushed me academically, but you also knew they were there to encourage you spiritually,” he said.
For Tucker, Truett made a huge impact on his life. He said, “If I hadn’t gone to Truett, I would have not gone to WinShape, I would have not met my wife, and I would not be at Chick-fil-a today.”
Although his plans to become a history teacher changed after graduation, the restaurant operator still has plenty of opportunities in the classroom. “In the last month,” he said, “I spoke at a middle school, two leadership conferences, and a volunteer retreat.”
His heart to serve others is another trait that the company encourages him to use. In fact, when his new location opened, just as the devastation of Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Tucker’s store provided over 10,000 boxed meals for affected families and volunteers in the Houston area. “I love being a part of a company that loves to serve others,” he said.
As for those interested in becoming Chick-fil-A owners, Tucker says the company requires you to be a full-time owner/operator. That means you must be “hands-on, willing to roll up your sleeves and do whatever it takes to grow the business and drive your team.”
With a strong brand, world-class franchise system, and his passion for the company, Tucker’s success is evident in a company that continues to thrive. He said, “We would love to eventually get a second restaurant if God sees that opportunity fit for us. Right now, we are just blessed and loving life!”
Jenny Gregory is the Digital Content Specialist for TMU.Return to News Archive