At just 26 years old, Georgia-native Ashley Lamothe is one of the youngest franchise owners in Chick-fil-a history.
Lamothe’s journey with the popular chicken chain began when she started working at a Chick-fil-a restaurant just outside of Atlanta as a way to earn money to buy her first car, according to The Chicken Wire. She was only 15 years old at the time.
Lamothe went on to attend Spelman College and started working at a Chick-fil-a not far from campus, where she served as director of the eatery’s leadership team. The former theatre major switched her focus to economics after the restaurant Operator pulled her to the side and suggested a career in leadership.
From there, her dream of owning her own Chick-fil-a restaurant blossomed.
“At the time, I thought it was just a great job to have while pursuing my degree in theatre,” Lamothe said. “I’d never considered it. Sometimes you just need someone to help you see your potential.”
In 2011, the Spelman grad opened her first restaurant across the street from the University of Southern California, and her success has only improved since then. Lamothe opened the doors of her second restaurant in downtown Los Angeles on April 26, ushering in the city’s very first Chick-fil-a eatery. She described being selected to open and run the first Chick-fil-a in downtown L.A. as a “tremendous honor.”
“It’s been a long journey with a lot of hurdles to work through, but it feels really great to see everything come together,” she told Rolling Out magazine. “… I love the diversity of downtown LA; there is something for everyone. I’m excited to bring the unique hospitality that we offer in a fast, casual environment.”
So far, Lamothe said the toughest challenge has been recruiting, hiring and retaining workers, but she remains confident.
According to The Chicken Wire, the accomplished businesswoman recently received the company’s Symbol of Success award, which honors Chick-fil-a owners whose businesses show significantly high sales growth.
“It’s humbling to be honored,” Lamothe said. “But I feel like I’m just getting started.”