Local Chick-fil-A Owner Works to Add Value to Others
Writer / Joshua Deisler
Photgrapher / Brian Brosmer
Chris Tincher sits alongside his wife, daughters and son as the Chick-fil-A restaurant is abuzz with the Friday dinner crowd. Kids are running to the playground, families are sitting down to relax and employees are happily serving customers. But even in the calm yet busy atmosphere, Chris remembers his time bussing tables – a time he never thought would lead him here.
Chris never had plans to open a restaurant. The journey began back when he was a teenager as he worked alongside his grandmother at a Holiday Inn in Louisville, KY. Eventually Chris worked his way up from bellhop to restaurant supervisor, from desk clerk to hotel manager.
“It was fascinating. It was all about service and taking care of guests,” says Chris. But after almost two decades of working in the hotel industry, he began to look for a better, more stable opportunity.
Indeed, Chris needed much more time with his growing family. He met his wife Amber at church camp but didn’t begin dating her until after serving in the Army as a medical specialist. When he returned home from duty in Korea, Chris finished his college degree in religious education. Years later, he returned to school to earn his MBA in 2000.
Chris and his wife Amber have twin girls, Chloe and Jasmine, who are 11 years old and in fifth grade. Chris and Amber started the adoption process for Chloe and Jasmine in early 2005. It took almost a year to gather all the documents and wait for approval.
In August 2006, the couple traveled to China and held their daughters for the first time. The couple then had a “surprise blessing.” Amber soon became pregnant with Reece, now 7 years old. “We went from zero to three children in two years,” says Chris.
Having time for family weighed on Chris’ mind as he searched for new opportunities. “The hotel industry is a 24/7 operation,” he says. Chick-fil-A was a new concept in Indianapolis, and Chris didn’t know much about the company. But after a chance meeting with an owner of a Chick-fil-A restaurant, Chris began to consider the opportunity.
Many aspects of the Chick-fil-A business attracted Chris. For one, the business is closed on Sundays, which would give Chris more time with his family. When Chris became a franchisee, Chick-fil-A only had 800 restaurants. In the last 14 years, the size has grown to over 2,000 locations.
But Chris would have to be approved before he could become a franchisee. “The process is very selective,” says Chris, who sent the company a 14-page letter of interest. Out of 20,000 applications that year, Chris was one of the 80 selected.
Another aspect that appealed to Chris was the restaurant’s mission of being a faithful steward. “We want to add value to others,” says Chris. After being the franchisee of the Castleton Chick-fil-A, Chris took the opportunity in 2009 to take over the existing restaurant in Avon.
Every day is a little different. Sometimes Chris is behind the counter, serving customers. Other times, he’s training his leadership team, meeting with community members or working in the office. “Whether it’s developing leaders, investing in team members, serving our guests or volunteering in our community, I fulfill my purpose when I can add value to others,” he says.
When Sunday rolls around, he’s thankful for the opportunity to rest and to worship at his local church, where he and his wife play very active roles. Being closed on Sunday, says Chris, also helps retain and recruit good talent.
Chris values his employees, especially his leadership team. “For us, we have different leaders who take different ownership of different parts of the business,” says Chris, who enjoys giving his employees new leadership opportunities and allowing them to make mistakes and grow. Chris especially appreciates playing an active role in the day-to-day running of the business.
After the day is finished, Chris is involved in coaching his son’s football team and supporting the community in education and youth leadership. He also serves on board of the Avon Education Foundation, for which the restaurant serves as a community sponsor. The restaurant also teams with Avon Community Schools and supports local athletics.
Amber keeps busy chauffeuring kids to practices, games and recitals as well as playing an active role in their church and hosting the Chick-fil-A employees at their house. “My greatest joy is when the kids come home and hearing what’s happening throughout the day,” she says.
For Chris, his greatest professional joy is the opportunity to see satisfied team members who love their jobs. “Ultimately, we are in the people business,” he says. At home, his greatest joy is seeing his family, all smiling at the end of the day.
And, as the restaurant fills with customers on the warm Friday evening, Chris turns to his son and asks how often the family eats at Chick-fil-A.
Son Reece replies, “Too much!”
“Well, what’s your favorite?” replies Chris.
And Reece looks right at him and whispers, “McDonald’s!”