Sr. Principal Design Lead

Requisition ID 2023-15161
Job Function
Restaurant Development
Position Type
Experienced Professionals
Posting Location : Location


The Sr. Principal Design Lead is a corporate professional position responsible for large scale business critical projects, strategic project planning, leading internal cross-functional and external multi-discipline teams and providing design direction on initiatives that impact Restaurant Development and across the organization. As Chick-fil-A continues to innovate and disrupt the restaurant industry, we are looking to add a new talent to define and drive future solutions for our restaurants, in support of key departmental and company-wide strategic initiatives.


As a Sr. Principal Design Lead on the Restaurant Design Team, you will be responsible for leading a design-thinking approach to create experiences and environments that are industry-leading and relevant to our Guests, Team Members, and Operators. Leading a multi-discipline team, you will tackle all aspects of the design process from research to ideation to physical and/or digital prototyping and validation of design solutions for our restaurant chain. You must be able to clearly define project goals and parameters in an ambiguous phase of innovating future needs of the business. You must be an ambitious problem solver, flexible, and able to succeed within a cross-functional environment. The ideal candidate for this position is able to influence strategic direction and be at ease blending business strategy with design methodologies to execute ideas into solid designs and experiences for all areas of the restaurant. Execution requires critical knowledge of development process and experience navigating through technical aspects of construction documents.


This role will provide advanced Design expertise to multiple strategic initiatives that will have a broad impact across the organization and deliver projects with major complexity.

  • Leads and/or influences the vision and execution of various guest and/or team member innovation projects ranging from inside restaurant experiences to the drive-thru and site experience
  • Leads the creation of whole new restaurant formats and experiences that include exterior and interior design, site layout and incorporate future innovations around guest ordering and pick-up experience as well as potential new businesses.
  • Leads the creation of design solutions for both new and existing restaurants that alleviate pain points and create growth opportunities for Operators, Team Members, and Guests
  • Provides guidance on how the organizational initiatives will impact the design of new restaurants, existing restaurants, and roll-outs.
  • Influences the strategies of future restaurant designs and experiences.
  • May represent the Design Team organization in outside discussions and technical forums.


This role requires a curious leader who can collaborate across the business to ensure successful design solutions.

  • Build and manage appropriate cross-functional teams and partners from across the business to ensure successful design solutions
  • Ensure alignment during the innovation process that includes various approvals/inputs from key stakeholders such as Operators, Field Operations, Marketing, Food Safety, IT, Risk Management and Restaurant Development teams
  • Leverage key insights from Operators, Team Members, Guests, and industry trends to identify both now and future design concepts
  • Must be able to build strong relationships and influence people

Our Flexible Future model offers a healthy mix of working in person and virtually, strengthening key elements of the Chick-fil-A culture by fostering collaboration and community. 


  • Develop innovation project plans including:
    • Scope
    • Project Teams – internal staff, consultants, agencies, and vendors
    • Timelines
    • Budgets
  • Assist with or lead the selection and oversight of outside partners to effectively deliver results. Accountable for Design consultants and vendors relationship and management for specific projects or work-streams.
  • Develop project briefs during each phase to document progress and milestones
  • Estimate, track, and analyze budgets
  • Execute a communication plan to keep key stakeholders informed
  • Influence and shape the development of project strategy
  • Lead the design of all of phases of a project, from translating verbal ideas into visual concepts, to design development and refinement, to creating and reviewing production-ready drawings
  • Lead external firms in the creation of schematic design, design development and construction drawings for new building formats/experiences
  • Create and manage both low and high-fidelity design deliverables for testing
  • Lead development of working drawings for field installs and / or test simulations
  • Lead test simulations to validate solutions through research and observation
  • Manage documentation of learnings, creation of guidelines and development of design criteria / principles

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in Architecture, Interior Design, Engineering, Environment Design, Service Design, Graphic Design or Design Management 
  • 8+ years in conceptual design, design documentations and deployment
  • Experience in restaurant, hospitality, or retail
  • Professional License and/or Management Certifications
  • Strong communication skills (written, oral, & presentations)

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in related design, business, or management fields
  • Preferred experience with corporate organizations and creative teams
  • Preferred experience in innovation programs, cross-functional creative teams, corporate organizations
  • Professional License (AIA, NCIDQ, PE-Professional Engineering, PMP)

Minimum Years of Experience


Travel Requirements


Required Level of Education

Bachelor's Degree


Architecture, Interior Design, Engineering, Environment Design, Service Design, Graphic Design or Design Management

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