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Michael Taylor


Michael Taylor: Building a Legacy of Excellence and Impact

Michael Taylor’s business journey began at 15 in Woodbridge, Virginia, when he landed a part-time job at Chick-fil-A in 2005. A high school football player seeking extra income, Michael was introduced to the company by his cousin. Little did he know that this part-time job would evolve into a fulfilling career.

During his senior year, a knee injury forced Michael to reevaluate his future. Inspired by his mother’s advice—“Mike, don’t stop at being just a manager or general manager; strive to be a franchisee!”—he delved into Truett Cathy’s book, “Eat More Chicken Inspire More People.” This book sparked his passion for business and hospitality, particularly the impact the food and beverage industry can have on people’s lives.

At 17, Michael approached his franchise operator with a bold request: he wanted to become a Chick-fil-A Operator. Throughout college, where he earned the nickname “the Chick-fil-A guy,” Michael dedicated himself to learning every aspect of the business. After eight years with his first Operator, he worked under another operator who became his mentor and guided him into Chick-fil-A Inc.’s Leadership Development Program. There, Michael honed his skills by overseeing grand openings and existing stores across the country for two years.

In 2018, Michael achieved his goal when he became the Operator of the Chick-fil-A location in Greenbrier Mall, Chesapeake, Virginia. This role marked the beginning of his ownership journey. His dedication and continuous learning led him to relocate to Rochester, New York, where he opened a new Chick-fil-A in Henrietta.

“I’m always reminded why I got into this business,” Michael says. “It’s about giving opportunities to those who might not have them and growing young leaders worldwide.”

Maintaining Excellence amidst Challenges

Michael opened his Chick-fil-A Henrietta on November 19, 2020. This was both a joyous and challenging milestone in his life due to the pandemic. Situated in the heart of business and shopping areas, the franchise naturally attracts a high volume of customers. Despite the inherent busyness, Michael stresses the importance of prioritizing customer service and hospitality. He often tells his team, “Don’t sacrifice customer service and hospitality for operations.”

Michael’s commitment to this principle ensures that every customer feels valued and welcomed. The franchise thrives on balancing efficient operations with a personable approach, creating a warm atmosphere for all visitors. This dedication to excellence drives the success of the Henrietta location and reinforces the core values Michael instills in his team.

Exceptional Hospitality at Chick-fil-A Henrietta

Chick-fil-A Henrietta offers a distinctive blend of taste and value. The iconic Chick-fil-A sandwich, famous for its unique flavor and quality, is a highlight on the menu. However, what truly sets this franchise apart is its commitment to hospitality. Michael explains, “Giving great hospitality to our guests is something that most people are not used to within a fast-food restaurant.

This dedication to customer service has contributed to Chick-fil-A’s global reputation for excellence. Michael and his team focus on creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for every guest, ensuring they feel appreciated and valued.

Empowering Leadership and Community Impact

As the Owner of Chick-fil-A Henrietta, Michael focuses on working on the business rather than in it. He prioritizes community involvement, attending speaking engagements in high schools and universities.

Michael also dedicates significant time to coaching and developing leaders who are entrepreneurs themselves, helping them grow in their understanding of what it means to be a CEO.

Moreover, Michael refers to his team as world-class. They have divided the business into various divisions and departments to address every critical aspect. Michael fosters innovation within his organization, encouraging team members to experiment despite the fear of failure.

When employees try new things and fail, Michael asks, “What did you learn?” This approach emphasizes learning from failures and trying again based on acquired knowledge. Furthermore, Michael ensures that his team receives full credit for their achievements and celebrates wins within the business.

Optimizing Leadership through Time Management

Michael faced various challenges in his leadership journey. To overcome these obstacles, he began studying how CEOs manage their time, plan activities, and organize their businesses.

A crucial question Michael sought to answer was, “How do I spend my time?” Upon reflection, he recognized areas where he could enhance productivity and eliminate time-wasting activities.

To address this, Michael adopted a system called Time Boxing, where he allocates every 30 minutes to a different task. This structured approach improved his efficiency and ensured quality time with his team. As a result, Michael not only boosted productivity but also managed to separate work from personal life effectively.

Embracing the Digital Frontier in the Food and Beverage Industry

Michael has observed a remarkable evolution in the food and beverage industry since his youth. The industry has faced numerous challenges over time, but Michael perceives these changes as opportunities for growth and innovation. He understands that modern customers increasingly rely on digital platforms, particularly mobile apps, to access food and beverage services.

In response to this trend, Michael made a strategic decision to enhance his location’s digital capabilities by assigning a dedicated leader to focus solely on these aspects. This move aimed to address the growing demand for seamless mobile experiences in today’s fast-paced world. This way, Michael seeks to improve customer satisfaction and ensure that his business remains competitive in an ever-changing marketplace.

Leading Sustainable Practices at Chick-fil-A Henrietta

Michael’s goal is to always be ahead of the market to continue to have great sustainability. At Chick-fil-A Henrietta, his team focuses on sustainable practices. They ask themselves two questions: “What is the market doing?” and “What does the future look like?” These questions help them stay current or even get ahead.

Structured Time Management and Personal Well-being

Michael balances work and life with structured time management and personal well-being. He makes sure to unwind after work by taking 30 minutes to “unpack his thoughts” before spending time with his fiancée.

Michael avoids being “always on” at home, using the concept of Time Boxing to complete tasks early in the day. This allows him to enjoy his hobbies, such as going to the gym and doing yard work, which help him de-stress.

Michael’s Three Principles for Aspiring Leaders

Michael offers three key takeaways for aspiring leaders in the food and beverage industry:

First, he emphasizes the importance of taking action. “Someday isn’t a day of the week,” he says. “If you want to be great attack the day now.”

Second, Michael notes that the fast-food industry presents a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Lastly, he recommends finding a mentor or coach who excels in your desired role and learning from them.


“Someday isn’t a day of the week. If you want to be great attack the day now.”

“By default, you are in the fast-food industry, but you are also in the industry that you can help the most people.”

Also Read: The 10 Prominent Food and Beverage Leaders to Watch in 2024.


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