By Elaine W. Teague
AFC enterprises Inc., parent company of Churchs Chicken, is committed to minority franchising and the economic empowerment of U.S. inner-city communities. In keeping with its mission, AFC has hatched a "New Age of Opportunity" philosophy and recently made the Atlanta Franchise Development Co. (AFDC) its largest franchise partner--and the nation's largest African-American restaurant franchise owner. The AFDC, under president and CEO Dwayne Heard, will purchase 100 Churchs locations and has plans to build 100 additional restaurants.
The shared philosophy of AFC and AFDC will be the cornerstone of AFDC's new Employee Ownership program, which will allow restaurant managers to buy units. Similarly, AFC's PLUS (Programs Launched Universally for Success) Program gives AFC an opportunity to offer a lower cost of entry to individuals purchasing a Churchs franchise by targeting minority franchisees in government-assisted empowerment zones.
"Inclusion" is the '90s buzzword at AFC's Atlanta headquarters. "[We provide] annual scholarships to college-bound Churchs employees or children of employees, and we've dramatically increased the number of our minority suppliers," says Hala Moddelmog, president of Churchs and, fittingly, the first woman to head an international food-service chain.
AFC has also built 100 homes for low-income residents through the international program Habitat for Humanity, with a pledge to build 100 more.