RCBC alum selected as new owner-operator of Freehold Raceway Mall Chick-fil-A
Monday, Nov 23, 2020

Ramon Varona

There are moments that shape us. There are moments that challenge us. And there are moments where we find ourselves sitting in our car for 20 minutes of quiet revelry because we finally made it. 

For Rowan College at Burlington County alum Ramon Varona, that quiet moment was 16 years in the making. He began his journey at Chick-fil-A in 2004 as a manager, transitioned to director of operations of two stores in Mount Laurel and is now prepared to tackle a new challenge as owner-operator of Chick-fil-A Freehold Raceway Mall. 

Ramon Varona, of Mount Laurel, completed his associate degree in hospitality and tourism management in May 2019. He then earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Wilmington University, all while holding down two full-time jobs. Following a rigorous 13-month interviewing process at Chick-fil-A, he eagerly accepted his new position as owner-operator. 

“Moving into a Chick-fil-A operator role has been an honor. After working toward this goal for so many years, I’m looking forward to having a greater positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A. I joined Chick-fil-A 16 years ago, and at the time, I was looking for a career with upward mobility in the restaurant industry. Chick-fil-A has given me that and so much more,” Ramon recalled. 

To say that Ramon is driven would be an understatement. Although he didn’t need to earn his bachelor’s degree in order to advance to an ownership position at Chick-fil-A, he knew it would set him apart and make him more competitive. As for his experiences at RCBC, he claims he wouldn’t be where he is today without it. 

“I chose the right school, the right course of study and had some great guidance along the way. Nicolette DiPietro (RCBC’s Interim Director of Culinary Technology) was a huge factor in my success. The culinary arts, hospitality and tourism management program pairs practical tools with professionalism, and it’s so convenient; you have the flexibility to work while completing your degree. The relationships I formed in the program have withstood the test of time; to this day, I still keep in contact with my classmates,” Ramon said.

Ramon officially assumed the role of owner-operator of Chick-fil-A Freehold Raceway Mall on Nov. 1. As he transitions to a higher-level, more strategic position, Ramon will still utilize his hands-on experience to lead his team members. Not only is he well-equipped with years of relevant education and dedicated time in a restaurant, but he’s also a passionate advocate for the Chick-fil-A product and business model. 

“I love our food – it’s delicious and convenient. Beyond meal service, our company equips us and encourages us to celebrate care – for our team members, guests and communities. During our training, we had virtual classes with our COO Tim Tassopoulos and the Chick-fil-A founder’s son Dan Cathy. They each took time out of their busy schedules to talk to us about excellence, service and leadership. To me, that was the most impactful part of our training,” Varona shared. 

Oh...and Ramon’s favorite Chick-fil-A menu item? It’s a toss-up between the Icedream® and the Spicy Deluxe Sandwich. 

To learn more about RCBC’s hospitality and tourism management program, visit rcbc.edu/hospitality.