Faith & Business: Two go hand in hand for Davie Chik-fil-A owner
Published 9:21 am Thursday, March 30, 2023
By Jim Buice
What could be better than being the owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise?
Well, how about having two of them?
That’s what’s ahead for David Moore, who came on the scene as the franchisee when the popular fast-food restaurant came to Clemmons in 2017 and is preparing to open his second store just across the Yadkin River in Bermuda Run later this spring.
For Moore, his goal for both locations remains what founder Truett Cathy established in 1946 with the opening of the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Georgia.
“He built the company on a platform of care and said, ‘We’re in the people business, but we just happen to serve the best chicken sandwich in the world,’ ” Moore said. “So we focus on care and great, fresh awesome food, and then connecting to our community in a special way.
Again, that’s a tribute and the standard he set that now about 2,900 restaurants are trying to model.
As for the food, you might be surprised to learn that the waffle fries are the No. 1 seller on the menu.
“The Chick-fil-A sandwich and nuggets are right up there neck and neck, but the waffle fries are actually the most selected item because they can accompany both a sandwich and nuggets,” Moore said.
Breakfast, which Moore said probably accounts for 15 to 20 percent of the daily volume, continues to grow with the four-count minis leading the popularity poll followed by the chicken biscuit.
Never willing to rest on success, Chick-fil-A constantly tries out new items with the addition of the cauliflower sandwich on the menu in three national test markets, including the Triad.
“What they like to do periodically is introduce new products and see how those markets respond and then if they think it will be a favorable rollout then they can choose to do that within the chain, or they can choose to not to do or could do it in a limited/seasonal offering.”
That was the case in the first year for the new Chick-fil-A restaurant on Lewisville-Clemmons Road in Clemmons when mac and cheese was introduced along with baked beans.
“Mac and cheese made it, and the baked beans didn’t,” Moore said. “And the mac & cheese has been a huge success. People love it.”
Other favorites are the milk shakes, including the seasonal Peach and Peppermint Chocolate Chip in the winter. Staying in the experimental realm, a Caramel Crumble shake will be offered as a limited time favor this fall.
Chick-fil-A also pivots to food in filling a vital role in the community by backing nonprofits such as the Clemmons Food Pantry and Davie Hunger Fighters – and partnering with 19 local schools to support teachers and organizations within the school. (Sandwiches are often given to Davie Schools as a reward for students and staff.)
Moore added that for each Chick-fil-A grand opening, such as the upcoming one in Bermuda Run, an organization named Feeding America will donate $25,000 to a local hunger partner yet to be named.
This is the 15th year that Moore has been affiliated with Chick-fil-A. He spent the first part of his professional career in Dalton, Ga., as regional operations manager for Shaw Industries and eventually moved to Kernersville in 1997 to run the distribution center there before being selected as the owner/operator of the Chick-fil-A location on Peace Haven Road in Winston-Salem in 2008.
“We had success there in creating a good customer experience and growing the brand, so after nine years there, when the opportunity came available to come to Clemmons, I had a chance to relocate,” he said. “The opportunity was a brand new store, closer to the interstate and possibly a chance to have more of an influence in sales, so that was attractive to me.”
In the established business model, Chick-fil-A owns the land, building and equipment for each store, so basically the actual owner/operator or franchisee does a lease agreement and owns the entity itself. Things have gone well for Moore in Clemmons, which is part of about 30 stores in the Triad.
“We do healthy sales competing in that market,” he said. “As far as the country, there’s stores doing way more than we are, but they have huge populations. We are closed on Sundays, so we compete with the other brands but our team gets a chance to rest. We feel good about what we’re doing.”
And now Moore has a chance to replicate a successful Clemmons start in Bermuda Run with a location that is “four miles from parking lot to parking lot” just off I-40 on N.C. 801 in the Lowes Foods shopping center.
“It’s kind of a perfect scenario for a multi-unit and one of the largest sites that I’ve ever seen for Chick-fil-A,” he said. “We’ll have a long drive-thru car stack line queue that will not impact anybody coming into the restaurant, leaving the restaurant or being out in the street. It’s really a great setup.”
The current length of the drive-thru in Clemmons presents a bit of a challenge with the two lanes converging into one lane at the front northern corner of the building and extending around the curve to Market Center Drive. However, Moore said in the next year or so, plans call for making it two lanes throughout the drive-thru.
He said that although the Bermuda Run location will be a bigger footprint, most of the increase will be reflected in the kitchen with a different layout calling for not as many seats in the dining room but a lot more capacity in the drive-thru.
Moore said that the Clemmons restaurant has about 110 total employees, including 40 full-timers, but Bermuda Run may end up having a slightly larger complement. Although earlier projections called for an opening date of May 1, he said that late May is probably more likely – although it could even be June depending on weather and other factors.
For Moore, 59, who calls himself “an Army brat who was born in Seattle but been over the world and doesn’t really have a hometown,” certainly appears at home in this area. The Moores lived in Lewisville for nine years before moving to Mocksville three years ago.
He and his wife of 38 years, Susan – they met in college at Georgia Southern – have seven kids (five of them are married), and “we got our first two grandchildren recently,” he said. “We’re entering a new phase of life.”
Susan actually helps out in the Clemmons store, putting flowers out on the tables one recent morning before shifting to bagging food.
“She works a little bit here and loves it,” David said of his wife. “She just wants to be in touch with the team and know their names. She bags the drive-thru, which is one of the hardest jobs. She did 200 cars the other day in an hour. It was amazing.”
One constant for the family over the years has been a shared love of music.
“We all like to sing and play instruments and make music together,” Moore said. “That’s probably one of my greatest joys at our church, Calvary Baptist, Peace Haven, for years and now Calvary West in Bermuda Run. We’ve been involved with music and teaching our kids music and producing music, and we can actually lead worship together as a family and have all the instruments and the vocal parts covered.”
Then there’s that strong faith that carries over to all walks of life, including work.
“My faith is the biggest, most important thing in my life and in my walk,” Moore said. “I want Christ to be seen in my life and in the things that I produce, and my wife wants the same thing.
“We want to care for my team and community and want to be his hands and feet wherever we go. It’s great to be in a company that allow us to care by the way we need to – around generosity, stewardship and excellence, loving others and being unselfish. Our world, our country is kind of messed up. It’s good for the soul to be greeted with a smile and, like, ‘I really care about you, not just here’s your food.’ ”