Vol. 1, No. 1, Autumn 2007
Kenneth A. Cutshaw serves as the Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer of Cajun Operating Company, a private company based in Atlanta, Georgia USA. He is an equity owner of Cajun. Cajun is the operator of Church’s Chicken globally. Cutshaw manages the legal affairs of the Company and is responsible for global expansion of the Brand. Church’s was established in San Antonio, Texas in 1952. Church’s Chicken™ is a recognized brand name in the QSR sector, and is one of the largest quick service chicken concepts in the world. Church’s Chicken™ serves traditional Southern and Spicy Fried Chicken with a focus on offering complete meals with large portions at low prices and is positioned as the Value Leader in the Chicken QSR category. As of 2007, the Church’s system has over 1,600 locations worldwide in 20+ countries and territories, with system sales exceeding $1.2 billion. Cutshaw has professional experience in a wide spectrum of work experiences, including entrepreneurial ventures, management, foreign policy, law, business, academic and politics. He was formerly a partner with Holland & Knight, LLP, one of the larger law firms in the world. His law practice focused on global business transactions.
Mr. Cutshaw serves as Honorary Consul for India in the United States. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Haven Trust Bank, a community bank in metro Atlanta. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at Emory University, Georgia Tech and Georgia State University (GSU) teaching global business to graduate students. Cutshaw is past Chairman of Advisory Board for the Center for Global Business Leadership at GSU established in 2003. He is a Dean, co-founder and co-owner of Georgian American University (GAU) (founded 2004 in Tbilisi, Georgia). GAU is the first University in Republic of Georgia offering a JD Law degree. He is a Principal and equity owner of Kochhar Business Services, Kochhar LexServe and Pinkerton India located in New Delhi, India. He is an investor in enterprises operating in Tennessee and South Dakota focused on real estate management and in Texas focused on leaseholds interests in operating oil wells. Mr. Cutshaw is recognized for an expertise with international expositions. He has served as an adviser to the Bureau of International Expositions, a treaty organization in Paris France responsible for sanctioning World Expositions. He serves as a Director for the non-profit ICA (India, China, and America) Institute, Friends of India, and other non-profit NGOs. He serves as the President of The American Council of Young Political Leaders, an NGO established in 1966 that has introduced thousands of young political leaders in over 60 countries to the political process. He is an organizer of the India Council of Young Political Leaders. He serves on the Bush Administration Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy.
In the Restaurant Industry, Cutshaw was co-founder of several causal dining restaurants known as Cheers Funeatery in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee. He was an original partner of the Red, Hot & Blue restaurant chain founded in Arlington, Virginia. He is co-founder of Let’s Go Back, LLC, the first franchisee of the Flying Biscuit restaurants in Atlanta, with 2 units to open in 2007 and 3 units thereafter. He is active with the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association.
Mr. Cutshaw began his professional career in 1978. In 1985, he accepted a political appointment to serve six years with the Administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H. W. Bush at the U.S. Commerce Department in various international trade positions involving export/import regulatory programs. Mr. Cutshaw served as Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary overseeing and managing the Export Enforcement program of the Commerce Department. Prior to U.S. Government political appointment, Mr. Cutshaw served as Senior Counsel for The 1982 World's Fair, Senior Attorney for the Tennessee Legislature, Manager of a U.S. Senate Campaign and assistant in a Tennessee District Attorney General office. He began working in his family business at a young age by delivering food products to customers in East Tennessee. He serves on several non-profit Boards of Directors. He serves on Advisory Boards for the National Federation of Indian American Associations (largest umbrella organization for Indian American groups), the US-Indian American Chamber, the Georgia Indian American Chamber and others Indian groups.
Mr. Cutshaw lectures and publishes extensively on U.S. and global business and legal issues and has testified before U.S. Congress. Mr. Cutshaw serves or has served in various civic and professional positions including: Council on Foreign Relations; Board of Directors, World Trade Center Atlanta; Council Co-Chair, American Council of Young Political Leaders; Board of Directors, U.S. North African Business Council; Advisory Board, China Research Center; Founder and Chairman, Atlanta Roundtable; Co-Founder, Awakening, Inc.; Atlanta Chambers; Lifetime Sigma Chi; American University Law Advisory Council; and member, Southern Center for International Studies and other organizations. He formerly served on the Federal Government Industry Advisory Committee for Customs and Trade (1993-96); International Chairman, Atlanta Boy Scouts; Atlanta Woodruff Arts Council; University of Tennessee Alumni Board and Law School Advisory Board; Vice-Chairman, Tennessee Republican Party; Chairman, Legislation and Insurance Committees, Tennessee Bar Association. He is a member of the International Bar, American Bar, Federal Bar, District of Columbia Bar, Georgia Bar, Tennessee Bar, Customs Bar, Atlanta Bar and the Inter-Pacific Bar (Vice-Chairman, International Trade Committee). He serves on Board of Advisors for Corporate Counsel's International Adviser, International Quarterly and Importing under U.S. Customs Laws publications. He is co-author of three books by Thomson West, Doing Business in China (1995), and Doing Business in Russia (2000), Doing Business in India (2001). He represented Vietnam at the 1996 Olympics. He has been recognized by many Who’s Who organizations.
Mr. Cutshaw received a Master of Laws international studies degree from American University (1987), a J.D. in business law from The University of Tennessee (1978), and a B.A. in public administration from The University of Tennessee (1975). He received two academic scholarships. He has taught MBA courses for two decades.
Mr. Cutshaw is married to Diane Dracos Cutshaw. She is President of Family Wealth Services LLC. They have three children and reside in Atlanta, Georgia. His older daughter works for a Berkshire company in Knoxville, TN; and his 15-year old son and 8 -year old daughter (adopted from China) are students at Westminster Schools in Atlanta. He is a native of Tennessee. Mr. Cutshaw is an avid outdoorsman participating in high-adventure sports, including mountaineering expeditions on six continents, flying, skiing, and golf. He is active in Scouting with his son. He is a global enthusiast and enjoys cultural events and all outdoor activities.
George W. Church, Sr., a retired incubator salesman with more than 20 years in the poultry industry, conceived the idea of offering freshly cooked, quality fried chicken at a time when only hot dogs and ice cream were marketed fast-food style.
Church reasoned that the food service industry would have to change its approach in order to capitalize on the opportunities created by population growth and increased mobility. By cutting the frills common to the restaurant industry philosophy of the day, Church felt he could deliver his product profitably at low cost with a more efficient use of capital and employees.
The first "Church's Fried Chicken to Go" was located in downtown San Antonio, across the street from the Alamo. The restaurant sold only fried chicken. Church added French fries and jalapeños to the menu in 1955. George Church's idea paid off, and at the time of his death in 1956, four Church's were open. Other members of the family became active in the business, and by 1962 the chain had grown to eight locations in San Antonio.
George W. "Bill" Church, Jr. assumed chief operating responsibility for the family business in 1962. His father had already proved the economic viability of a low-overhead food outlet serving take-out food at a modest price. Bill Church dreamed of building the business into a nationwide organization.
Church and his management team stuck to the basics, and from 1962 to 1965 concentrated on rapid but tightly controlled expansion limited to the San Antonio area. By 1965, Bill Church and his older brother Richard had perfected a marinating formula for Church's Fried Chicken that could be re-created almost anywhere in the world. The formula remains a closely guarded secret.
By 1967, the company was set to expand, and less than a year later it established the first Church's restaurants outside Texas.
The Church family was bought out in October 1968, and in May 1969 Church's Fried Chicken, Inc. became a publicly held company. At the end of 1969, over 100 Church's restaurants were in operation in seven states. Between 1969 and 1974, Church's grew by an additional 387 restaurants. At year-end 1974, there were 487 Church's in 22 states with total revenues of more than $100 million. The highlight of this period was the opening of the national headquarters complex and manufacturing plant on a six-acre site in northwest San Antonio.
International expansion began in 1979, with the announcement of the first Church's abroad. The company subsequently established locations in Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Indonesia.
The Church's concept has always been based on the philosophy of simplicity of operation, starting with a limited menu, equipment designed to do one thing well, people trained to do one thing well and control of operational costs.
By 1989, Church's was the second-largest chicken franchise organization in the United States. That was the year it merged with the number three chicken chain, Popeyes® Famous Chicken & Biscuits, headquartered in New Orleans. The Church's concept remained distinct and separate from Popeyes®.
On November 5, 1992, America's Favorite Chicken Company (AFC) -- now called AFC Enterprises Inc. -- officially became the parent company to Church's Chicken, and moved its operations to headquarters in Atlanta.
After 12 years under the AFC umbrella, Church’s Chicken declared December 26, 2004 their Independence Day – the day Atlanta-based private equity firm Arcapita Inc. bought the fast food chain from AFC Enterprises, Inc. Under the new leadership, Church’s is prepared to expand their menu with the addition of Spicy Chicken and to expand their presence by growing the chain from 1,500 restaurants to 2,500 restaurants by 2010.
Known for its Southern-style chicken, Church's also serves Southern specialties including fried okra, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and its unique honey butter biscuits.
Vol. 1, No. 1, Autumn 2007