Chik-fil-A ownership lands in good hands
Chick-fil-A owner/operator Gary Robinson relocated to Morristown from Florida in early March with his wife, Shanci and daughter, Abigail.
Originally from Rome, Ga., Chick-fil-A owner Gary Robinson may be new to Morristown, but he is certainly no stranger to the restaurant chain.
“Chick-fil-A was my first job as a teenager. I was 15 years old,” Robinson said during the welcome celebration held on March 2 at the Morristown site, hosted by staff and former owner Sandeep Kapoor.
“I was connected through a family relationship and here we are a couple of years later,” Robinson said.
While in college, Robinson worked for a large paper company, but he remained loyal to his working roots. He returned to Chick-fil-A after graduation and worked with several stores, participated in grand openings and traveled frequently. Five years or so ago, he was selected to run a store located in a mall in Vero Beach, Fla. and remained there until the East Tennessee opportunity.
“We were looking to relocate and operate a free-standing restaurant,” Robinson said. “At that point, Sandeep had been offered the chance to relocate, this store became available and we were really excited about this small town community. After we visited here for just a few hours, we fell in love and started to get the sense of community and think about how we could really fit in with Morristown.”
Robinson arrived just a day before his official welcome on March 2, with his wife of nine years, Shanci, and their 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Abigail. The couple is expecting their second child in September.
“We wanted a place where we could raise a family and get through life with an awesome group of people and we think this community does that,” Robinson said.
He plans to become involved in the business community through avenues like the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce and Noon Rotary and support nonprofit endeavers and service organizations, as he becomes more familiar with the Lakeway Area.
“Sandeep left big shoes to fill,” Robinson said. “We at Chick-fil-A seem to gravitate toward those things that team members like to do. We can support them in life and what they do.”
Shanci has a history of helping Robinson out at the stores, and giving birth aside, she will take on a role in the new venture as well.
“We will have to look at what that will be. It takes a lot of hard working people to keep it moving. The team does an awesome job and Sandeep has really set the standard high for us,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s trademark, in addition to a stylish bow tie, is a sense of humor.
“I’ve been known to have some fun, here and there. It’s serious business, but you don’t have to take it serious all the time. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.”
The role of owner/operator varies from person to person, although the end result is customer satisfaction.
“Everyone has a different comfort level. At Chick-fil-A, they want us to build the business and protect the brand. It’s a constantly evolving thing. You get out what you put in. If something’s not the way you want it to be, its up to you to fix it. Sandeep deserves a lot of credit for the success of this restaurant.”
The two franchisees may differ a bit in down time — especially when it comes to Kapoor’s dedication to local greens.
“I own golf clubs,” Robinson said. “But it’s mainly me just trying to find the golf ball, wherever it went. My family and I love the outdoors, though. We love to hike and spend time playing outside, and sunshine is good for the spirit.”
-From Staff Reports