Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, a Southern icon for the company he created and for the religious principles that kept the chain’s stores closed on Sundays, has died at 93.
According to The Associated Press, Cathy died at home near family members, Chick-fil-A spokesman Mark Baldwin said early Monday. Funeral plans were not finalized, he said.
Cathy created his marquee sandwich in the early 1960s, testing it on customers at the Dwarf Grill (now called the Dwarf House in Hapeville, Georgia). He got the idea for the chicken patties after a poultry distributor asked if he could use chicken leftover from meals made for the compact food servings on flights.
He grew the company from one store in 1967 to more than 1,800 locations today and $5 billion in revenue in 2013. The chain surpassed longtime chicken king KFC in U.S. sales in 2012, although KFC is still larger when its foreign stores are factored in.
Cathy slowed down in the past few years. In 2013, his son Dan Cathy assumed the post of chief executive officer and chairman. Truett Cathy became chairman emeritus.
Chick-fil-A caused some controversy in 2012 after Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company backed "the biblical definition of a family," the AP reported. Gay-rights groups held boycotts at Chick-fil-A restaurants.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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