For USC alumnus Andrew Park, a chicken sandwich has the potential to change lives.
When Park first started working for Chick-fil-A about two and a half years ago, he knew he had a passion for business and social impact, but did not yet have a grasp of the restaurant in a larger context.
Now the operator of the Chick-fil-A located on Figueroa Street, Park hopes to use his role to give back to the University community.
“I think to have the opportunity to come back and serve the University, serve the community — not just the students but all the faculty and everybody that is part of that [experience] — to come inside and serve them has been fantastic,” Park said.
In 2012, Park received a bachelor’s degree from the Marshall School of Business with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. After running his own start-up during and after his undergraduate career, he ended up assisting in running a new Chick-fil-A in Orange County before moving to work for its corporate branch. On Nov. 1, he took over as operator of the Chick-fil-A near USC.
“To be back with the Trojan Family, that I was beyond excited about,” Park said.
In the future, Park hopes to increase the company’s social presence in South Los Angeles. Originally based in Georgia, Chick-Fil-A is currently expanding its reach in California.
“Chick-Fil-A is passionate about each restaurant being locally owned and locally operated, so I’ve been thinking into some of the things I’d like to pour into,” Park said. “Some of the things we’re looking into start connecting other organizations about is anything with youth and the inner city.”
Looking toward the future, Park hopes that the local Chick-fil-A will become more integrated into campus life.
“What I’d like to see and have students experience here is really a sense of community,” Park said. “[So] that when people visit, [they think], ‘Man, Chick-fil-A is an integral part of the USC student experience.’”
Chick-fil-A already sponsors a few initiatives to connect with USC. The restaurant offers free sandwiches when USC’s football team blocks a kick and hosts Trojan Tuesdays, where students receive special discounts on Tuesday nights. In the future, the restaurant hopes to increase its digital reach to continue improving the experience for students, said Eric Kim, the restaurant’s new director of technology.
“I think one thing we’re putting a lot of emphasis on [is] different platforms that can get our product into students’ hands without them even having to visit the store,” said Kim, who is also a USC alumnus. “We have the Chick-fil-A One App, Tapingo and Door Dash. “We understand that the line can be out the door sometimes, so whatever we can do to get people their Chick-fil-A.”
As members of the Trojan Family, both Park and Kim emphasize their commitment to being a resource for students, whether they’re looking to understand more about the restaurant, searching for an internship opportunity or hoping to learn about the world of business.
“[We’re] just here to be a resource for university students,” Park said. “And…just [to] give back because USC had done a lot to set me up and I feel like there’s a lot I can share about my journey with students.”