Leadership with Ashley Lamothe

The woman who changed the game for Chick-fil-A in LA

Ashley Lamothe Franchisee Chick-fil-A 7th & Fig Photo Credit: Chick-fil-A

Success is the result of preparation meeting opportunity. Such is true for Ashley Lamothe, who became one of the youngest Chick-fil-A franchise owners at the age of 26. At just 15 years old, Lamothe had no idea how much her life would change when she picked up a part-time job at Chick-fil-A.

Though her goal was to save up for a car, she realized how much she loved the brand. Lamothe continued working at Chick-fil-A during her education at Spelman where she built a strong reputation for herself. She proved she was able to successfully lead teams and build meaningful relationships, all while meeting sales goals.

In 2011, Lamothe opened her first restaurant near the University of Southern California, which made her the youngest black woman to own a Chick-fil-A at the time. Seven years later, Chick-fil-A selected Ashley to open the very first Chick-fil-A in Los Angeles which she currently owns & operates today.

This month, The Colors of Her Success caught up with Ashley to chat about her journey from working the drive-thru window to owning her own Chick-fil-A restaurant in booming downtown LA.

Photo Credit: Chick-fil-A

What does it mean to own a Chick-fil-A franchise?

A: Being a franchisee at Chick-fil-A essentially means that I am in partnership with Chick-fil-A. I have been selected to run, own, and operate a Chick-fil-A restaurant here in Los Angeles. As the owner, I'm responsible for upholding all of the restaurant procedures, recipes, etc.

I am responsible for everything that goes down inside those four walls. The beautiful thing about a franchise is that I am in business for myself but not by myself. I am fortunate enough to have Chick-fil-A as a business partner with a franchise.

According to the Business Insider, Chick-fil-A receives over 20,000 inquiries from franchisee candidates every year. Only 4% of applicants get selected. What do you think made you stand out?

A: The differentiator for me was that I had hands-on restaurant experience, and I was willing to go into a market that was new and emerging. I grew up working for Chick-fil-A when I was in high school and all throughout college. When it came time to apply for the restaurant I was interested in, I already had a lot of experience.

I was also able to articulate how I could come into the business and help elevate the brand in LA. The USC location that I got selected for was the very first Chick-fil-A restaurant in LA, and there was not a lot of brand awareness or interest. I thought that I would stand a higher chance of getting selected if I was open to some areas of the country that weren't as competitive.

Tell me about your Monday morning routine.

A: I try to be as proactive as I can. I'm a list maker. I love writing down and visually seeing what I need to accomplish. I always spend the first couple of hours on Monday working through my plan for the week.

I create a thorough list of all of the things that need to get done. And then, I evaluate what on this list are things that only Ashley can do. Is there anything on that list that somebody else can do? If so, I will pass it off.

"I set my intention for the week, and I think that is so important."

I try to spend a lot of time being very intentional about what it is that I need to get done this week, what work I need to do, who I am meeting with, and what do I need to do to prepare for meetings. It's so easy to go day after day after day without being thoughtful or intentional about a plan. I find that I can accomplish a lot more when I am being intentional about what I am doing.

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