Chick-Fil-A is bringing a location to Downtown Los Angeles and a Black woman will be running the show.
Ashley Derby started working for Chick-Fil-A when she was in high school in Atlanta, GA. She loved working with the company so much that after she graduated from Spelman College, she took the steps to become a franchise owner.
“I started working at Chick-Fil-A in Atlanta when I was 15 in high school. It was a great first job and I had a wonderful experience with it,” said Derby. “When I was in college, one of my bosses suggested that I consider a career with Chick-Fil-A, so we discussed all of the corporate and franchising opportunities. Because I loved being in the restaurant so much, it just seemed like the perfect fit.”
Everything continued to look up as Derby was given the opportunity to open Los Angeles’ first Chick-Fil-A near the University of Southern California in 2010. Everyone in Atlanta was already familiar with Chick-Fil-A, but Los Angeles was a different story.
“Our company started in Atlanta so there’s a lot of brand awareness there. My restaurant was the first inside the city of Los Angeles and it was the complete opposite,” said Derby. “There was very, very low brand awareness so the first few years we worked really hard to introduce people to the idea of Chick-Fil-A.”
When a restaurant is already established, some responsibilities can be given to the staff, but as a franchise owner in a new city, Derby was in charge of everything. She had to do all of the scheduling, ordering, hiring, training, developing of leaders and more. She even had to run some of the shifts. Derby was the perfect choice, as she has worked in multiple positions throughout her time with Chick-Fil-A.
“I’ve been a team member, a cashier, worked the front counter, the drive thru. I’ve worked in the kitchen with food prep, I’ve pretty much done it all,” said Derby.
The core values of Chick-Fil-A has kept Derby with the company. She supports their food and service practices and feels that they represent her values more than any other food chain. Working at Chick-Fil-A, from the age of 15, has also given Derby an appreciation for working with young people.
“For a lot of my team members, this is their first job and I love being in a position where I can influence and have impact,” said Derby. “I try to be a mentor and an example of what’s possible when you put your mind to it and work hard.”
Derby has worked with the Los Angeles community with providing food to local non-profit organizations and churches. There is also a leadership development workshop that is provided through the company to some of the local high schools. The downtown location will be centrally located and plans to get involved with the community as well. A date for the opening has not been decided yet, but the goal is to have it open before 2018.
“There’s really been a resurgence in the downtown community in the last few years and I’m excited to bring my skillset and be a part of the continued growth,” said Derby.
For more information on Chick-Fil-A, visit www.chick-fil-a.com.