The C-Suite Insider: Boston Market CEO Serves Up Thanksgiving With His Employees

Boston Market CEO George E. Michel calls himself "The Big Chicken."

— -- If you're eating a Thanksgiving meal and it's not homemade, there's a chance you're eating trimmings from Boston Market, which will serve one million people this Thanksgiving.

Called the "default Thanksgiving caterer," Boston Market offers delivery, catering or dine-in options for American who want a no-fuss traditional holiday meal. And alongside hardworking Boston Market employees will be George E. Michel, CEO of the company.

Michel, whose business card title is "The Big Chicken," has served Thanksgiving meals in his restaurants for the past four years. For the past three years, he recruited a family member to join him.

"My wife likes to volunteer and so we decided to do it together," said Michel, who sat down with ABC News for our "C-Suite Insider" series. "It also sends a great message for employees to meet my spouse and we both have fun."

Michel talked about managing the rapidly growing restaurant chain, his first Thanksgiving experience as an immigrant and why Americans are relying more on Boston Market for their Thanksgiving meals.

What's it like serving customers on Thanksgiving?

Each year, Michel works in a different location on Thanksgiving. This year, he'll be working at a location in Manhattan.

"I always have my shoes on," Michel said, showing off his non-slip dress shoes. "We usually get there at nine in the morning and close at six o'clock. We typically close then for staff to be with friends and family, or some opt to stay afterwards and enjoy a meal together."

Yes, Michel will sit down in a restaurant after a day of work and eat the food he helped prepare.

"We eat our own turkey. I'm not going to go to the hotel and eat their food. We really enjoy it," he said.

Meanwhile, his son, who will be studying for his law school exams in Atlanta, invited his other studious classmates to celebrate Thanksgiving together. About two dozen students accepted his invitation. Michel's son is buying food from a local Boston Market and ordered the chain's catering dishes.

Last year was a record year for Boston Market's Thanksgiving sales, and this year you expect a 20 percent increase. Why are more Americans relying on you on Thanksgiving?

"I think people are busier in their lives," Michel said. "Some people procrastinate to make the decision and we offer a solution. Others are scared to cook a turkey. Or they rely on us to prepare the side items."

But above all, customers like the value, Michel said.

What's your earliest Thanksgiving memory?

Michel immigrated to Canada from Israel alone when he was 17 years old. While he studied at the University of Toronto, he worked part-time as an hourly kitchen cook at the local A&W restaurant.

"I was on the grill at A&W to support my university studies," he said.

He eventually worked his way up in the industry and became A&W's CEO. Years before that, his A&W co-worker invited him to join his family in 1971 for what would be Michel's first Thanksgiving meal.

"It was a joyous occasion," Michel recalled. "It wasn't about a celebratory religious event. We were thanking the Lord, farmers and everyone involved at that time. It's a warm holiday when you can eat your favorite food or watch your favorite football game."

What's your typical day like?

"I practice MBWA: management by wandering around," Michel said. "I try to wander around the office ten times a day with no agenda -- sometimes to the cafeteria, around computers."

"When I want to talk to someone, I ask them if I can come to their office. I'm a guest in their office, so they're in the driver's seat and more comfortable. I hated when I was a junior and I was called into my manager's office. I learn a lot from them and they usually ask me what my focus is at the time."