HBCU Grad Goes From Chick-Fil-A Employee To Franchise Owner

As a 15-year old Ashley Lamothe began working at the fast food chain Chick-Fil-A, known for its excellent chicken sandwiches, chicken salads, Polynesian sauce, Chick-Fil-A sauce and lemonade iced tea.

She took the job as most teenagers do with the mindset of having extra money to spend on those non essential items that  teenagers crave. Her goal was to buy a vehicle, little did she know she’d become the youngest franchise owner in the history of Chick-Fil-A at the age of 26. 

“At the time, I thought it was just a great job to have while pursuing my degree in theatre,” says Lamothe. That is, until her restaurant Operator pulled her aside to ask about her long-term goals and recommend a career in leadership.

“I’d never considered it. Sometimes you just need someone to help you see your potential,” says Lamothe.

Lamothe was selected from a pool of hopeful franchise owners to open the first location in Los Angeles. She then followed that by opening a second location in downtown Los Angeles. Now, having nearly a decade of experience as a franchise owner, her focus has switched to building a team of great leaders. She says her mission is to help others obtain the same support which has enabled her to exceed her entrepreneurial goals at a very young age. 

Lamothe is a graduate of Spelman College, where she also worked at Chick-Fil-A as a director on the leadership team.

Originally a theatre major ,the working experience she received with Chick-Fil-A inspired her to change her major to economics so she could build a solid foundation in business.

Following graduation, she enrolled in the Chick-Fil-A management and development program. Three years later, her goal of becoming a franchise owner was achieved. 

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One of the most important tips she offers to aspiring entrepreneurs and franchise owners is; work at a local restaurant to gain some vital work experience. So many people mention their desires to be a franchise owner, but have never worked in a restaurant setting. This is hard hands-on work and you really need to know what you’re getting yourself into.

This isn’t the end-all-be-all for Lamothe as she also travels the world speaking to women about economic and business empowerment.

In fact, in 2013 she traveled all over Europe delivering business education on behalf of Chick-Fil-A. Then one-year later she led one of the first female-focused business retreats for franchise owners. 

Lamothe continues to be a resource for individuals seeking to become a franchise owner. She also serves on the Chick-Fil-A Operator Support Council and provides tips on social media and her personal website. 

Hard work, perseverance and wherewithal are a lethal combination and with it, you can do anything you set your mind to.

Ashley Lamothe is a success story Black America can take pride in.