Captain Culture – An interview with Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator, Arthur Greeno

Show Notes

Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator Arthur Greeno shares on creating culture, pivoting and thriving during quarantine, and the secret to getting all of his employees to say "My Pleasure" to every customer
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Audio Transcription

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Welcome back to CEO-ish. Today is a special treat. In literally five, not even five minutes ago, three minutes ago in our door walked the one and the only Arthur Greeno, hands down you are the most creative, innovative risk taker, joy seeker, franchise owner and operator that I have ever met, probably will ever meet. We have Arthur Greeno with us today. The owner and operator of two Chick-fil-A’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma for 30 years. Is that right? 30 years. You have one at … sorry, 71st.

Arthur Greeno:
And Garnett.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And Garnett. And the other one is in Woodland Hills-

Arthur Greeno:
Mall.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
… Mall. So first of all, welcome Arthur.

Arthur Greeno:
Thank you. This is so cool.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You and I have been friends for 30-

Arthur Greeno:
30 years. Yeah.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
… 30 plus years yeah. Arthur, we were friends at ORU. I think you started in ’87.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah, I did.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Okay. So we graduated together, you are exactly the same person that you were at 17 and 18.

Arthur Greeno:
Well, I have less hair.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You’re just every bit as handsome.

Arthur Greeno:
Look at that.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yes. And you are who you were, but to the nth degree, and you used your skills and your talents and your gifts well, you really did.

Arthur Greeno:
Thank you.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And everybody knows that, but I know that you know that before God that you have used what He has given you really well. So I’m really excited that you’re here. You didn’t know that you were going to be on the podcast today. Arthur was out delivering Chick-fil-A meals. Chick-fil-A is doing … Tell us what you’re doing and what you just brought me.

Arthur Greeno:
Well, they’ve just rolled out starting today. It’s chicken Parmesan. It’s really a cool concept that you can pick these meals up. And I’m knocking all your stuff off.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You’re so nervous.

Arthur Greeno:
So you can pick these meals up and they’re using … It’s really cool how they really innovated. And they use the Chick-fil-A chicken, the crack laden, boneless, breast of chicken that everybody loves. So they made a chicken Parmesan. So, you can buy these kits and it’s set up for two that you can take at home. And it has Alfredo and it even has grape tomatoes and kale, and you mix it all in there. And so I’m actually, my family said, “Hey, bring four of those home tonight, we’re going to cook that as a family.”

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And you brought me five tonight-

Arthur Greeno:
I did.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
… and I’m so excited to take a couple of those home and try them. Thank you for bringing us dinner.

Arthur Greeno:
My pleasure.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
It’s something the whole family will love. I know that. Okay. So there’s so much I want to ask you and I know I cannot get it all into this podcast, but I need to know, when you graduated from Oral Roberts, was it your goal to start a Chick-fil-A franchise?

Arthur Greeno:
No. No. So I started working for Chick-fil-A in 1988, the day the Woodland Hills Mall store opened as a team member. And I was just surviving. I was going to be as an art major, and as an art major, because I wanted to be a youth pastor, but yet the truth is I didn’t want to study. So I thought I’ll have some fun and go into art. And I learned real quickly that I’m extremely creative. And so, I got A’s on all the creative stuff and all the exec stuff, I failed every single one of those.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
What were you planning on doing with the art degree?

Arthur Greeno:
Well, I was actually going to do computer animation. So this was back in the day when the only computer in Oklahoma, actually wasn’t even in Oklahoma, I had to travel to Little Rock, Arkansas to find a computer to do computer animation.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Back in 1988.

Arthur Greeno:
Yep. Yep. And it was just because of the size of the computer. At that time ORU when they had a computer department, it was pretty like one small room with like six computers.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And so, you decided just to make ends meet, you’d go get a job as a team member at Chick-fil-A.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. And Chick-fil-A did a fantastic job of just taking care of me in college. And I fell in love with the culture of Chick-fil-A, how they cared for the owners. And I literally said, “I want to do this when I grow up.” And then I had to figure out, “Well, now that I’ve said it, now how do I do it? Because I don’t know anything about business.”

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. And then how long after that did you pivot to become a franchise owner and operator instead of just a team member?

Arthur Greeno:
Sure. So it was actually a process. And so while I was there, it was just about taking one step at a time and stepping into leadership roles. And as I would master those leadership roles, I got better and better opportunities to where eventually I became assistant manager of the store that I was at. And then the hard part for me is my sister passed away. She was 18 and had two kids.

Arthur Greeno:
And so, I was trying to keep everything afloat, help my family take care of their finances. And the owner there said, “You know what? You need a break.” And he said, “We’re going to do a grand opening somewhere else. Why don’t you go over there and you can earn lots of overtime.” And I went there and they put me in a chicken suit.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
A chicken suit.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. So the olden days we didn’t have the cow mascot, it was doodle-do rooster. And they put me in the doodle-do rooster outfit. And so through the beak of this, I’m watching what’s going on, I’m watching people, I’m watching Chick-fil-A and how they cared for people. And that’s when I was like, “I want in. I don’t know what that looks like.” And so when I got back, I started asking all the owners, “What does it take to be an owner operator? What does it take to be a franchisee?” And so they started talking to me about it. And so, I started grabbing everything that they mentioned and put in practice.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. And what year was that?

Arthur Greeno:
That would be in ’89. So I’d been there for a year already. And so I really started putting in place. So when I graduated from ORU in ’92.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
’92.

Arthur Greeno:
I was supposed to graduate in ’91, but then I got delayed for a semester. And so in ’92, at the very beginning, I went on with Chick-fil-A to help run other stores. And it didn’t last for a long till I realized I don’t want to be traveling all over the place. That’s just not how I’m built. I want a store in Tulsa.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Because you have 12 kids.

Arthur Greeno:
It feels like it. Let me tell you. I have six kids, but we weren’t even looking at kids at that time.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You weren’t shopping for them yet.

Arthur Greeno:
I wasn’t even shopping for a wife really. But she already checked me out. So, she already had her eyes on me.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Naturally, naturally. And so, was that the part you took a leap, was that …

Arthur Greeno:
That was 1992. And it was funny because I remember my friends, my closest friends were like, “Arthur, I wouldn’t do this.” They’re like, “This Chick-fil-A franchise, I don’t know about it. You only get one store and I just don’t think you should do it.” And I was like, “You know what? I love the company. I love the culture. This is what I want to do.” And so, that’s what I did.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And that was at Woodland Hills Mall.

Arthur Greeno:
Actually, they gave me Eastland Mall at the time.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Eastland Mall.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. So, it’s now the Coca-Cola call center and the DMV, I think.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. It is. We just went and got our restricted license.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. So that’s what it is nowadays, but it was a horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible hole in the wall. And so I took it and I let it, and I took the skills that God had given me and I just really kind of put it together and I just led the team and loved on Him. And I got granted opportunity after opportunity as I went along.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
As far as CEOs, I don’t know if you call yourself franchise owner, operator, whatever.

Arthur Greeno:
Franchisee.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Franchisee. What is your title? If you were to have a business card, what’s your title?

Arthur Greeno:
It would say franchisee.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Franchisee.

Arthur Greeno:
But of course I’d make it something like most insane operator in the world or something unique that get me fired.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You are the most insane operator, what you do that you do so well, besides caring for people. And you do that really well. You come up with things that nobody else will do, and it gets people’s attention in a way that makes them laugh, smile. And you push the limits. One of the first things that I remember you doing, you broke the Guinness World Record for the largest lemonade. Is that right?

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. I did that.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
That would have been back …

Arthur Greeno:
2007.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
2007. Where did you get that idea?

Arthur Greeno:
Well, honestly, it’s because I have six kids. And so they’re like, “Dad, you should do this Guinness World Record thing.” And I’m looking at all things going the person has the longest nails and all this crazy stuff. And I was like, “Okay, that’s not me.” But what I do know is capitalize on your strengths. And so I was like, “So what do I do?” And I was like, “Well, I got food. How do I make the world’s biggest something?” And so, it was kind of a joke at the time. And so we said, “Let’s do lemonade.” And so that’s what we did.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And so you built a very large cup. You found out what the largest one was before that. And then you just filled it with as much lemonade as you could.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. But unfortunately, well, and fortunately Chick-fil-A’s lemonade is so good because we freshly squeeze it. So, then now I had to do it exactly per recipe. So we had to squeeze over 100,000 lemons.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
No.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. By hand.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You and your 12 children?

Arthur Greeno:
No. So I’m a little smarter than that. So, I told people that we’re going to have a contest at Chick-fil-A and whichever team comes in, I’ll set up 10 lemon juicers, and whoever squeezes the most or fastest will get free Chick-fil-A for a year.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Why did it have to be, I guess, it needed to be the Chick-fil-A lemonade.

Arthur Greeno:
Yes, it did.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. And so now you are in the Guinness book of world records for the largest lemonade. Then after that, you got in for something else.

Arthur Greeno:
The world’s largest sweet tea.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Sweet tea. Using the same cup?

Arthur Greeno:
Well, yes, we did use the same cup. And what happened was there’s some providence in China beat our record. And so I was like, “Well, I can beat them again.” And they’re like, “Nah, let’s do something a little different.” And so they said, “What about a sweet tea?” And so I was like, all right. So, I did that. And then I’ve gotten beaten since then but-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
What are we going to do?

Arthur Greeno:
You know what the truth is? I like to have fun. We’re building a 1989 Batmobile right now. So I actually bought this giant monster trucks, Scooby Doo van.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Right. Naturally.

Arthur Greeno:
I’m picking it up this month. So it’s huge.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Where does one buy Scooby Doo, say it again?

Arthur Greeno:
It’s a Scooby Doo like a monster truck. It has like giant wheels. Oh, I will still come pick you up and we will go around.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
I so want you to pick me up and go down-

Arthur Greeno:
It will be so cool.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
… in that monster truck. And what is the purpose of this Scooby Doo monster truck?

Arthur Greeno:
Honestly, it’s to make people smile. That’s the whole purpose of it.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You do it so very well.

Arthur Greeno:
I don’t know where I’m going to park it. I haven’t figured that part out.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You can park in my parking lot. I’ve got a parking lot for it. What brings you the most joy over the last 30 years? Naturally you come up with more ideas than I’ve ever seen any restaurant owner, franchisee, you name it just to make people smile. And you and I have talked about this before. Granted, you do really well and you’re very successful and you’re able to bless your employees and bless a lot of people.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You have your nonprofit, all of these things. It’s why you do it. Not for the money. God has blessed you and given you and your company a lot of favor, but what is it over the last 30 years that has brought you the most joy from all of your years with Chick-fil-A?

Arthur Greeno:
For me, it’s when my kids succeed, and I don’t mean my kid, but I do want my kids to succeed. But there’s a girl that has a store, a Chick-fil-A restaurant that actually does more volume than my volume. And she’s right down the street from me. And I hired her when she was 14 years old. And so for me, what it is when I get a young man or a young woman and they come in and they get to spend time with us and I get to impact their life and teach them life skills or give them opportunities for them to learn life skills, and see that they can make a difference in people’s lives, that’s what gives me joy.

Arthur Greeno:
And so, as I’m doing all this stuff, for me, it’s a way to kind of say, “Look, it doesn’t take much to impact people’s lives. You just have to be willing to do it.”

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. When your team members say, “Pleasure, my pleasure, pleasure, pleasure.” I love that you all love that word. Pleasure.

Arthur Greeno:
Well, they say my pleasure.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
My pleasure.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Right. Yeah. I think I was saying that wrong. Right? My pleasure. My pleasure.

Arthur Greeno:
We just need to be careful.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
I could never get a job at Chick-fil-A, but how do you get people to be really authentic when they have to say that? Or when they say that 200 times a day, how do you find those people? How do you know when you’re interviewing them that truly, they will still mean it by the 200th time?

Arthur Greeno:
Well, for one, it’s a requirement. If they don’t say my pleasure, we promote them to customer status.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Right. What does that mean?

Arthur Greeno:
That means we fire them.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Oh, to customer. Sorry. I was a little slow on that one. Yeah. Promote them to customer status.

Arthur Greeno:
And not in a mean way. It’s just one of those that these are the expectations from Chick-fil-A and we need you to do this. And it’s really hard when you’re saying my pleasure to not kind of engage with it. If you’re saying that on a regular basis, just like when you’re building yourself up and talking good things about yourself, you feel better. And so when they say my pleasure, it’s generally followed with an opportunity for them to serve the guests.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. Is pleasure been a word that is Chick-fil-A. Is that your word or is that nationwide is Chick-fil-A word?

Arthur Greeno:
It’s a Chick-fil-A word, but they stole it. They stole it from Ritz-Carlton.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Oh, what does Ritz-Carlton use now?

Arthur Greeno:
I don’t know if they just change it or they just keep using it. They are not just as good at it anymore. I guess. I don’t know.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
I’d like to use that word more often too. Yeah. “Hello It’s Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets. Pleasure. Pleasure. My pleasure.” I don’t think pleasure my pleasure is the best way to say it.

Arthur Greeno:
No. That’s a different kind of restaurant.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
So let’s talk about the here now, let’s talk about the last six weeks of what life has been like for you with both Chick-fil-A, the mall has been completely closed.

Arthur Greeno:
Correct.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
So there’s no curbside there at the mall.

Arthur Greeno:
No.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Okay. What does life look like at 71st and Garnett in Tulsa, Oklahoma for six weeks with how many employees do you have out of that store?

Arthur Greeno:
Well, altogether between two stores, I had 113.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
So when this first happened and you heard that everything was going to have to shut down, your initial reaction internally was?

Arthur Greeno:
Was honestly, my frustration was, how am I going to have my team members be able to support their families? That was the big thing. And that was a conversation my wife and I sat down and had, and said, “How do we make this happen?” And so for our store, one of the things is there’s a lot of stores out there that have double drive-throughs. And so we walked the store and we walked the store and we walked and said, “Look, everything’s going to drive through it. Everything’s going to mobile.

Arthur Greeno:
How do we make it where we’re ready for what may happen?” Because we didn’t really know what was going to happen. Our sales immediately started tanking. The mall was closed down. And so, we figured out we could modify our parking lot with cones and modify our curbs. And we went out there with screwdrivers stuffs, started just assembling everything and said, “What if we’re able to get two lanes on here?” And we got it built and we got it out there. And the first day any customers that went through my drive, let me just apologize right now. It was brutal.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
His pleasure is very sorry for what happened the first day.

Arthur Greeno:
Exactly right.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. And you had never done a double drive-through up to that point?

Arthur Greeno:
Not at our stores. No.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
So how did the first day go?

Arthur Greeno:
So the first day, it was clunky, but we started hitting numbers that we never hit before.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
From having a double drive-through. But you were closed inside?

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. Inside was closed. Yeah.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Do you think it was because of the double drive-through, or people just wanted to come support you?

Arthur Greeno:
I think it was more of the double drive-through, people inherently they’re looking to get in and out of places and there wasn’t very many places that have even an opportunity. And so for us, as we’re able to do that, we’re actually able to really start … we’re actually able to double the amount of people that was going through our drive-through. And then on top of that, we started doing a mobile curbside. We set up 10 temporary spots and then we also set up with DoorDash and all those other things that were growing.

Arthur Greeno:
We started putting it together and we do more in our third party deliveries than a lot of stores used to do in general. And so, it’s just … like the girl who does a lobby for me, the girl who used to clean my tables in lobby, she runs orders out to DoorDash, that’s what she does.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Were you set up like a Sonic where people would come up to the parking spots. Besides the double drive-through, were you set up where people would come up and then call in an order and you’d run it out?

Arthur Greeno:
No, unfortunately Chick-fil-A has some things in place like a mobile app where they can get on their app, they can order it. And then when they pull up, they can actually program it in there. I’m in slot three and it pops up on our registers. Now for DoorDash, those kinds of things were a little bit different as well. And so, we kind of had to put some things together where I bought a separate phone and put it there and said, “When you pull up, call this number, and then you don’t have to come into the restaurant, we can come right out with food.”

Arthur Greeno:
And so, it’s been a chore. The hard part about the whole thing with COVID is at every week is different. Whether it’s the government has new mandates or the city has new rules or Chick-fil-A has new rules or there’s things we need to change. And so, there’s no consistency.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
What? Wait, hold on. Are you saying that there is no consistency with the rules that are passed down from government? Is that what you’re saying?

Arthur Greeno:
Is that what I’m saying? Well, actually, probably.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
It is my pleasure to hear you say that.

Arthur Greeno:
That is true, but in defense for them also, it’s a moving target. There’s things happening. We’re talking about people’s lives and how people care for one another. And so it’s not simple. And so, I’m glad that I’m not in that role at all.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
So did you have to let people go during the six weeks that were at your 71st and Garnett, or were you able to use all of them?

Arthur Greeno:
I hired 14 people.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You hired 14 people.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Because you were that busy.

Arthur Greeno:
Well, yes, because, well, and again, it comes down to, we innovated. We innovated and we had to figure it out and it was painful and we’re able to move things around to make sure it works. But again, it was the mindset of, we have to figure out a solution. There’s no options. And so now it also helps that Chick-fil-A is a strong name and everything else. But again, that was the whole conversation piece between me and my wife.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You already were a great leader leading into this pandemic. So it only helped that it probably just built your skills even more to lead through a crisis like this.

Arthur Greeno:
One of the biggest things for us, and one of the biggest things that I’ve seen where companies fail is the lack of communication. And so for us, we would literally have a meeting twice a day. We would have one for the morning shift and we’d have one for the afternoon shift and we’d huddle everybody up and say, “Okay guys, everything changed again.” And now it’s just a joke. It’s like, “Okay, what’s changed today?” And that’s-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
“Forget everything I said yesterday, we’re starting over.” And are you there then every day? You’re probably there even more now than before. You were always very, very present, but probably now more than ever, you have to be involved in everything. Because as you said, it’s always changing.

Arthur Greeno:
Yep. And I tried to let my leaders … they won’t let me go on the drive-through I’m horrible on the drive. I will crash that thing. It’s horrible.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
I’ve seen you, you are pretty bad.

Arthur Greeno:
It’s pretty bad.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. But you’ve seen me in your drive-through too.

Arthur Greeno:
I have seen you.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
I’m worse.

Arthur Greeno:
I can’t do that. You would jump out and scare people.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
I did so much fun when they don’t expect you just to jump up like that.

Arthur Greeno:
Of course, it was two in the morning-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
It was.

Arthur Greeno:
… when you did that.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
It was. We had so much fun. Arthur allowed me to come out at midnight on a random, it was in the middle of the week. And we asked people to come and bring canned foods. We said, you offered to give a milkshake. And I offered to give a bracelet if they would bring a canned food. And we put the message out there at midnight. And by 12:07, people started lining up. We had hundreds and hundreds of cars-

Arthur Greeno:
It was crazy.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
… that was … And I got to do the drive-through, one of the highlights of the year for me, because I got to scare every single person that came.

Arthur Greeno:
And you did that too.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Oh. And everybody was in their pajamas. Nobody put a bra on for this drive-through. People didn’t care, but I loved … will you let me-

Arthur Greeno:
And you got to ask people questions. If I asked if a lady had a bra on, I’d be in such trouble. I don’t do that. So, you’re walking with a camera drive-through and ask those questions anytime you want.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Can I do your drive-through again?

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah, let’s do it.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
That would be my pleasure. So where are you now? Are you still closed? I know our city just semi reopened restaurants. Are you planning on reopening soon?

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. Our mall just opened. And so, we’re kind of open there. It’s kind of limping along as people are trying to figure out how to navigate. The freestanding store … You know, Chick-fil-A was one of the first stores to shut down their lobbies, very first, they said, “You know what? This is for the safety of our team and for everybody else. Let’s go ahead and shut it down.” And then of course they were early adapters of the no contact. Even right now, if you come up with DoorDash, we will come out there with big buckets, we’ll put your food in the bucket and then-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
I’ve seen it.

Arthur Greeno:
… I’ll let you pull it out. So we’re handling your food very, very little. So I want to expect that Chick-fil-A is going to be one of the last ones-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
To reopen?

Arthur Greeno:
… to reopen in the lobby. And so now they’ll give us a choice, but for me, I’m kind of going, “You know what?

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
It’s working.

Arthur Greeno:
… there’s too much uncertainty right now.”

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
It’s working the way you have it right now because the way you did it, instead of saying, “We’re doomed,” you said, “We can rise above this and we’re going to innovate.” And you’re actually better off now when you do reopen the lobby than where you were before this.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ll definitely keep that second drive-through lane. I don’t know how that’s going to work when we actually start getting cars, and people are wanting to park their cars. So we’ll figure that out later, too.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You travel around or you used to travel around. And the last time I saw you was at the airport, I believe.

Arthur Greeno:
True.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
We were both coming home from, I don’t know where, but you travel around and you are a very well known and wanted speaker and you speak on a variety of things, but mostly leadership and leading a team in a way that is unique and that most people haven’t seen before. But if I’m sitting in the audience of one of your talks, what are the three main things that I would take away from what you would share with a group of leaders and CEOs and franchises?

Arthur Greeno:
Sure. Well, the biggest question I get asked is about Chick-fil-A’s culture. How do we get a culture like that? How do we make our culture? The first thing I tell them is that you need to have the tools. What do your tools look like? If you’re going to have a culture, what does it look like? Are you wanting your, when they walk in for it to smell a certain way, or you want it to look a certain way, are you wanting them to be greeted when they come in?

Arthur Greeno:
We view all those as tools. When you walk into Chick-fil-A and someone says, “My pleasure,” that’s a tool that we’ve given our team that says, this is required. The next part, believe it or not is, did you train them? A lot of organizations like, “Oh yeah, we have a training program,” and I’m like, “Show me it.” And then they pull out this musty, dusty, old book. And I’m like, okay. What does it look like? And so we ask them for, show me how it’s being trained. And then the next part is, and no one wants to do this, how are you holding them accountable.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
The accountable piece.

Arthur Greeno:
Oh my gosh, everyone hates that. When Truett Cathy first start saying my pleasure, I wrote it down and said, “Hey, I want to implement this.” And so I came back to the restaurant and said, “Hey guys, we’re going to say my pleasure.” And they looked at me like I just said, “Hey, let’s skin a cat.” And I was like, “All right, let’s say my pleasure.” So, that lasted like two weeks. And I gave it up because I was like, “Oh my gosh, you guys.”

Arthur Greeno:
So, the next year I went to the seminar and Truett said, “We want to say my pleasure.” And so I went back and said, “Okay, guys, we’re going to do this again.” So that lasted about a month and a half.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Because you just give up when you see it start to slip?

Arthur Greeno:
Well, it was just one of those that it’s hard, people don’t like change. And when you come in there with a new idea, and now that you’re saying, “Say my pleasure,” and they’re not used to saying that in general, they’re resistant on it. So the third year I went back and of course, Albert Einstein says, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So, I came back to the restaurant and said, “Okay, guys, we’re going to try this one more time. And I got this great strategy. So, if you don’t say my pleasure, you’re fired.” And it’s amazing. They started saying, my pleasure.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
The old, “You’re fired if you don’t do it.”

Arthur Greeno:
Actually. Yeah. Well, I promote them to customer status. You can ask about it.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And have you ever let somebody go because they wouldn’t say pleasure?

Arthur Greeno:
Yes. Yes. Yeah. And I’ve also let them know because they dropped the F bomb on the front counter.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Those two things together. I can see why you’d go to customer status.

Arthur Greeno:
She didn’t use them together. I would probably just kind of laugh about that. But that would be different. But it is one of those that when you lay out the ground rules and you say, “This is what it is.” This is how we do it.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Tell me about your nonprofit, Tulsa Pop Kids.

Arthur Greeno:
Tulsa Pop Kids is the nerd side, but basically we help support literacy through pop culture and entertainment. And so that’s kind of why we can be into all the nerds, whether it’s Harry Potter, whether it’s Superman, we cover it all. And so that’s why I’m building a Batmobile because if we’re already taking comic books and stuff to the children’s hospital, let’s go ahead and do it in a Batmobile or now a Scooby Doo monster truck.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Who is your mentor?

Arthur Greeno:
So, Dan Cathy with Chick-fil-A. He has really helped me with … he really does have a heart for people. So I have so many, it’s amazing how when you’re seeking mentors, God will provide the right people at the right time for the right thing.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yes, He does.

Arthur Greeno:
So, I probably have about six different ones for different reasons. And you’re constantly pulling all the great stuff out of them.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. What is next for Arthur Greeno?

Arthur Greeno:
Get through COVID, that’s the thing is we can’t plan what the next steps are until we get through it. I mean of course, just like everybody, we had all kinds of things all planned out for the year and different things like that. But like the Scooby Doo monster truck, that literally just came to my lap a few weeks ago, somebody actually tagged me on Facebook. And I was like, “Oh, I am so buying that.” And I looked at my wife and she goes, “Yeah, if you want to.”

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You know why God has blessed you so much. I have known you for 30 plus years. You do not have a selfish bone in your body. You really don’t. And it is amazing because the favor of God rests on you and anything that you touch. Because it’s not just the Chick-fil-A customers that you’re touching, but it’s all of the children and you have no unselfishness. You’re not doing this to promote you or necessarily to boost sales.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You’re doing it because you are utilizing the gifts and talents God has given you. And I’ve watched you all of these years. You and I were friends in college because we share a little the same brain. But I’ve watched you and I love to see that you are a perfect example of somebody using the skills that you were probably born … it’s in your DNA to do what you’re doing right now. And I love that you have used it well. And in doing so, God has favored you. And I believe He will continue to do that.

Arthur Greeno:
Thank you.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
We’re going to close now because I’m sure you have other things to do since you didn’t know you were going to sit down and have a podcast. Tell me something that most people wouldn’t know about you.

Arthur Greeno:
What most people wouldn’t know about me, that believe it or not, I get recharged by being alone.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Oh, yes.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. So a lot of people are like, “Arthur, he’s always out there, he’s doing these crazy things,” but it does drain me. And so, it is one of those that when I’m going on fishing trips or things like that, even if I’m not catching anything, it’s just about-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You’re alone.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah. I’m not getting that conversation of the fryer broke.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Are you on your phone at night or are you disciplined enough to put it away?

Arthur Greeno:
No way. No.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You’re not disciplined or you-

Arthur Greeno:
I’m not disciplined. If my phone rings, my family will tease me. Now, there’s certain times it’s just like, they’ll take the phone from me, which I totally understand in all respect. But the people that are around me a lot understand that there are certain times they don’t bother me. And I have built in a lot of communication circles so that if they have questions that they need answered, they can throw it into those. And so hopefully somebody else can answer it. But yeah, if it rings at night I won’t ignore it.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
It’s your baby. Do you take time to watch, get into a series or go to movies by yourself? Do you do that or is that how you unwind?

Arthur Greeno:
Well, it’s kind of funny. So I really enjoy movies.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yeah. Me too.

Arthur Greeno:
But I enjoy them so much that when all the new movies come out nowadays, I buy out the entire theater and-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
So you can be alone?

Arthur Greeno:
No, no. I’m doing that from now on.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Listen, “I don’t want anybody around me or even five rows in front of me, I’m buying the whole theater out.”

Arthur Greeno:
No. I would buy the whole theater and invite everybody. And so, we’d load it up with kids or whatever. And Tulsa Pop Kids join in on that. But I do like to go to movies and I think it’s because I can immerse myself and I won’t answer my phone during that time.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Yes. We share a brain. Can you and I rent a movie theater just for the two of us? You can sit on one side, I’ll sit in the other and nobody will talk to you the whole time.

Arthur Greeno:
No. It’d be social distancing. It’d be perfect.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Let me tell you that one of my favorite things ever to do. Like you just said, I get recharged by being alone. I’m going to Texas tomorrow and it’s a four and a half hour drive to where I have to go and I’m going by myself. And I know I could ask anybody up here to go with me, but I love to just be alone. And I like to go to movies and go alone. When I go to movies, generally the people like to comment on what’s happening on movie and I would just want it to be a solo experience.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
So, the very last thing I did before quarantine, because I knew they were going to shut the movies down, I went to see Emma right before quarantine with a slushie and popcorn sitting there by myself. It was the most glorious experience. And it’s been six weeks and I’m starting to get the shakes. So please can you and I go rent a theater?

Arthur Greeno:
Sure. Absolutely.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
And we’ll drop our phones. Actually, I like to have my phone just in case an emergency happens, and every now and then I’ll pick it up just to see, but it’s so freeing. Yeah, we do share a brain. I loved having you here. Thank you for the spontaneous visit. Thank you for my dinner tonight. And it is always a pleasure to be with you and to hear your wisdom. I soak in all the knowledge that you have gained over the years. So thank you, Arthur.

Arthur Greeno:
Well, thanks for having me. And you know what? I still remember when I was speaking at that one conference that you were at and you came over and you were so excited to show me your bracelets.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Where was this?

Arthur Greeno:
This was at Spark and Hustle.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Oh, Spark and Hustle. That was the first time. That was 2011.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Why were you there?

Arthur Greeno:
I was speaking. I was one of the speakers.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
You were speaking. Oh my gosh. I don’t know how you remember that. That was-

Arthur Greeno:
I do. Because you were so … And I remember you were saying, “Arthur, you got to …” Did you call … you didn’t call them bracelets. Did you?

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Cuffs.

Arthur Greeno:
Cuffs. Yeah. Okay. So you called them cuffs. And so I was like, all right. So I went over and checked out your table and I was like, “Okay, this is cool.”

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
This is cool. Won’t go anywhere, but it’s cool.

Arthur Greeno:
Actually, I didn’t think that, but-

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Bless your heart.

Arthur Greeno:
… I didn’t think anything one way or another. I was just like, “Okay, that’s cool.” But you had a great quality product with somebody with some grit and some tenacity and some creativity. And so, it’s been an honor and a blessing to watch you. Now when I talk about, “I remember when she just had that one little booth over there,” so it’s so cool to watch.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
That is so fun. I love that we’ve grown up together.

Arthur Greeno:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan of Rustic Cuff Bracelets:
Thank you, Arthur. And thank you all for listening today. We will see you next time on CEO-ish.