Katy, TX News (September 9, 2015) – Chick-fil-A Mason Road celebrates their 20th anniversary on September 14th, 2015. Rusty Wylie, franchisee of the Mason Road location since its Grand Opening, also operates the Cinco Ranch and Greenhouse Chick-fil-A locations. “What an amazing journey it has been. To have started 20 years ago and been a part of the growth of Katy for the past 20 years is beyond what I ever imagined possible. It really has been a blessing to be a part of this community. We are thankful for the support of our guests, and the groups we partner with here in Katy,” Mr. Wylie commented. The Mason Road location was just the third free standing restaurant for Chick-fil-A in the Houston area when it opened in 1995. Now sixty-three stand-alone locations dot the local landscape. Mr. Wylie explained, “When we opened, Chick-fil-A was really struggling with results in the Houston area. Our brand awareness was low. People didn’t know who we were, what products we served, or even how to say our name!” However, it didn’t take long for Chick-fil-A’s popularity to soar.
Things have changed since 1995, and the Chick-fil-A Mason Road dining room and parking lot are typically full. Mr. Wylie recalled, “I remember that we were so slow in 1995, that I sometimes hit golf balls out near the drive thru into the field behind our store. Isn’t that crazy? If you fast forward, we shut down in 2014 for five months to build a new location here at Mason Road in order to handle demand. This new facility enables us to do that. Now there is additional seating, parking, and kitchen space. The modifications help us to serve guests more efficiently and to have a better working environment.”
When Corporate Chick-fil-A struck a deal for the Cinco Ranch location in 2005, Wylie was selected to run the restaurant, which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. Then, with the opening of the Greenhouse location in June 2015, he was honored with a Chick-fil-A first—operating three free standing restaurants. Sharing the credit, Mr. Wylie remarked, “I think that is a story about the people that I work with; our leaders produce a great experience for our guests every day. Their hard work and results over the years have helped us create relationships with the community and grow the business, making the three store selection possible. We have a great location at Greenhouse, which is now our busiest location in the Katy area.”
Beyond inventing the chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A is known and has received numerous awards for their service. When speaking about the importance of his team members, Mr. Wylie said: “We are so fortunate to have the people we have working for us. Most of our restaurant leaders started working for us in high school. They do an amazing job setting the tone on a daily basis and keeping the focus on serving our guests. We call our service model Second Mile Service, which is a Biblical principle encouraging those who embrace it to serve well beyond reasonable expectations. It is our intention to be an indispensable blessing in Katy.”
Wylie’s three stores employ approximately 275 team members, many of whom are teenagers. When asked if that was a challenge Wylie responded, “A lot of people I know talk about the challenge of working with teenagers. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the energy, the competitiveness, the molding of young people who will be our future leaders for both the restaurant and the community. Since 1995, we’ve employed probably close to 2000 teenagers. Our former team members are nurses, teachers (several in the KISD school district), engineers, pastors, bankers, corporate employees, real estate agents, Moms and Dads. We’ve loved employing the youth of our city for twenty years, and we hope everyone will come help us celebrate at a Sock Hop Anniversary party Wednesday, September 16, from 5:30-7:30pm at Chick-fil-A Mason Road. Plus, kids dress in 50’s attire will receive a free Nuggets Kids Meal (4 count).
Chick-fil-A Mason Road and Chick-fil-A Cinco Ranch were awarded the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce 2008 Business of the Year. They remain active in the community, partnering with KISD schools district wide, local nonprofits, and youth sports. Mr. Wylie has been married to Amy, his wife for nineteen years. They have two children who attend Faith West Academy and attend Grace Fellowship UMC in Katy.