Chick-fil-A investing in young Israeli believers, creates new internship program

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An potentially transformational opportunity is opening up for young Israeli believers interested in a career in the business world.

The Israeli believing organization Israel Firstfruits Center for Economic Advancement (IFC) is teaming up with Chick-fil-A, a leading fast food restaurant chain in America, to offer young Israeli believers an internship with Chick-fil-A. The candidates will be able to earn money and visit the US, while learning the practicalities of business management.

Chick-fil-A and Israel Firstfruits Center for Economic Advancement are partnering in an innovative program where one of the Chick-fil-A franchises will be hosting believing Israelis to come for an internship program to learn first hand from their experience and expertise in business service as a highly successful kingdom business,” Lisa Loden of Firstfruits told KNI. “Chick-fil-A is offering training programs of six months to one year for Jewish and Arab believers to learn the principles of successful business, gain expertise in the service sector and learn and apply kingdom principles.”

Well known in Israeli believing circles, IFC has a vision to “see the Body of Messiah in Israel flourish and prosper, fulfilling its mandate to bless Israeli society and the nations through: God-honoring professionals, thriving ‘kingdom businesses’ and economic transformation.” Among its diverse programs is IFC’s annual Business Forum event, to which international investors and business people come to meet with local entrepreneurs for the purpose of developing Kingdom business in Israel.

For those who may not have heard of it, Chick-fil-A is not just another quick-service restaurant company. While the chain is secular, and hires both believers and non-believers, it was founded in 1946 by Truett Cathy, a Christian who wanted to ensure the business reflected Biblical values. To this day, the Chick-fil-A website states the company’s corporate purpose is: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”

There are currently 2,000 Chick-fil-A restaurants across 43 states in America. The company’s annual sales exceeded $6 billion last year. The chain is famous for its delicious chicken sandwiches. It also serves up serves up crispy french fries, vegetarian salad wraps, desserts, breakfasts and more. The business model is a franchising system whereby trained, full-time operators run individual franchised restaurants. Operators have the option of owning their restaurant.

In line with Christian values, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays and serves the communities around its restaurants through a program of social responsibility that includes giving, volunteering and environmental protection initiatives. Chick-fil-A is also committed to the continued improvement of the well-being of the chickens it uses. In 2014, the chain announced its plan to serve chicken raised without antibiotics in all its restaurants within five years.

The idea of an internship program for Israelis was born out of a connection made between Mordechai Wiseman, CEO of Israel Firstfruits, and Tim Abbott, the Christian franchisee-owner of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Abbott, who has developed his business to where it now has 95 employees and some 2,000 customers a day, told KNI: “At Chick-fil-A we send out restaurant owners and staff to different countries to love the people there and show them the unique ways we do business. We show them that Christ can make a difference in their lives.”

“I was raised in a home that loved Israel, and my dad was a WWII veteran who liberated Jews from camps in Germany,” Abbott continued. “I have loved Israel and the Jewish people for a long time. I therefore asked if we, as Chick-fil-A, could reach out to Israel.”

Abbott visited Israel four times this year, including a trip on which he brought 19 delegates from Chick-fil-A to the Israel Firstfruits business forum in September.  

“As we considered how Chick-fil-A could sow into the lives of Israeli Jewish and Arab believers, I was introduced and able to meet with Mordechai through Kehila News Israel, which was instrumental in founding the internship initiative,” Abbott said. 

“As I drove to my first meeting with Mordechai in the Galilee in September 2015,” Abbott recalled, “God broke into my prayers and told me to explain to Mordechai that at Chick-fil-A we have the ability to train young Israeli believers in doing business God’s way. And we can show them how to sow those business seeds back into the local Body of Messiah.”

A central element of Chick-fil-A’s work ethic is the importance given to customer service. The company website asserts: “We firmly believe in treating every person who comes through our doors with honor, dignity, and respect.” Abbott reflects: “Even from a financial standpoint the reality has been shown that when you treat customers with respect they will remain loyal to your business.” He adds. “It is not a formula, but a matter of doing the right things every day.”

Regarding the Israeli interns Abbott confirms: “We will treat them as employees and teach them the principles of business and our internationally renowned work ethic. We will show them that treating customers with dignity and respect is 95% of good business practice.”

The internship program is expected to begin with the first group of interns traveling in late spring next year.  

“God has continued to break in, bringing key people to help get the program started,” Abbott shared.

One of these people is Messianic American-Israeli immigration law specialist, Jamie Cowen, who will be working on fulfilling the necessary visa requirements for the interns.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for young (20-35) Israelis to gain knowledge and experience in business from the ground up,” Loden affirmed. “Singles, as well as couples, are encouraged to apply for this unique opportunity. Although the program is held in the context of the restaurant business, the knowledge and skills that will be gained are applicable to all manners of business endeavors.”

For further information and registration please contact: [email protected]