Jan 25, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
Chick-fil-A invented the chicken sandwich and now the company is continuing to innovate through a new center in Georgia Tech’s Technology Square.
The company opened a technology innovation satellite office Wednesday at the historic Biltmore. The Technology Innovation Center, part of the company’s long-standing partnership with the Institute, emphasizes Chick-fil-A’s commitment to innovation.
“This new facility will provide a dedicated space for Chick-fil-A to collaborate with the bright minds of Georgia Tech and develop technology solutions that will benefit our customers,” said Chick-fil-A’s Chief Information Officer Mike Erbrick. “Our founder Truett Cathy was a true innovator, and the Technology Innovation Center is one of the ways we’re continuing his legacy.”
The 6,000-square-foot space focuses on digital technology, complementing work already taking place at Chick-fil-A’s three existing innovation centers, and is a testament to the company’s desire to enhance the customer experience. Some of the new center’s projects are being tested in restaurants, including the location in Colony Square.
Chick-fil-A will work with faculty and students to explore design, innovation and development projects among various majors and disciplines.
“We are very excited that Chick-fil-A is one of our corporate partners in the innovation ecosystem that we are building at Georgia Tech and nearby,” Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson said.
During the past five years, corporations have opened more than 20 innovation and technology centers in and near Tech Square, all within a several-block area.
“Along with Chick-fil-A, companies such as Worldpay, Keysight Technologies and NCR are attracted to Tech Square so that they can access the talent and technologies being developed and collaborate with Georgia Tech faculty, staff and students,” Peterson said. “When coupled with the many startups fostered in the innovative, dynamic environment developed by the Advanced Technology Development Center and the Enterprise Innovation Institute, this has dramatically changed the face and culture of Midtown.”
Eight Georgia Tech students work as interns in the Chick-fil-A Technology Innovation Center.
Tiffany Zhou, a third-year computer science major, said working in an innovation center provides access to the latest technology and tools.
Chick-fil-A also gives students the freedom to work on different projects, said Abbie Williams, a third-year computer science major.
“We started worked on a project on day one,” she said. “They trust us to do what we think is right. We’ve asked would you like us to do this or that and they tell us to do what we think is best. It’s empowering.”
The innovation centers at Tech Square don’t just benefit their home corporations. The centers interact with startups in Tech Square and across Midtown.
In addition, Chick-fil-A is among the founding corporate members contributing to Engage, a new national membership-driven accelerator and venture fund targeting high-tech startups. Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center provides programming and other services for the Atlanta-based Engage.