If you want the challenge of a lifetime, forget applying to the Ivy League. Apply to operate a Chick-Fil-A restaurant.
The chicken-based chain loathed by progressive college students accepts a piddling 0.3 percent of applicants to open and run its stores each year. Harvard’s acceptance rate, by contrast, is 4.6 percent. Both receive applications running in the low 40,000s each year, according to The Washington Post.
The reason for this comparison is the reported failure of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to secure a Chick-Fil-A franchise for his wife Marilyn, even after calling the chain’s CEO and its legal department.
It shows that “it’s really, really hard to open a Chick-fil-A franchise, even without the pull of a government agency”:
“I see a lot of situations in which you have franchise systems that get less and less selective because they really want to grow, and they’ll take anybody who comes along,” said Jonathan Maze, executive editor of the commercial food service industry outlet Restaurant Business. “Chick-fil-A doesn’t have to do that.” …
After filling out an initial “expression of interest” online, [operator applicants] complete a formal, written application. From there, the company conducts recorded live-video and in-person interviews with applicants, taking business experience and leadership skills into consideration.
This attention to quality pays off: The average restaurant makes more than $4 million in sales each year. It’s also far cheaper to start than the typical franchise – just $10,000 – though Chick-Fil-A owns all the restaurants and doesn’t allow operators to own other businesses.
The Pruitts seemed unacquainted with how involved Chick-Fil-A operators must be in their restaurants, Maze said:
The job pays well, but only if operators are willing to grind it out in their restaurants six days per week.
“It’s not really the type of job where you would expect somebody to pull favors to get,” Maze said. “You still have to really, really like the restaurant business. That element is pretty shocking, to be honest. Really, it’s not a cushy job.”
Meanwhile, if you want to get into Harvard, here’s some practical advice: Hide your Asian heritage.
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