Industry News | August 5, 2008

Chick-fil-A Opens Newest Stand-Alone Restaurant

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Chick-fil-A, the nation's second-largest chicken restaurant chain, will award those willing to wait in line for the opening of the newest Jacksonville, Florida, stand-alone restaurant on August 7 by giving away $26,000 in free Chick-fil-A food to the first 100 adults in line that morning.

A one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A Combo Meals (52 coupons) will be awarded to each of the first 100 adults, age 18 and older with identification, at the new stand-alone restaurant at Oakleaf Plantation located at 9636 Applecross Road. The line can begin forming up to 24 hours prior to the opening, with the prizes being given away on August 7, sometime between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. The restaurant will open immediately afterward.

Launched in 2003 to mark the opening of the chain's first stand-alone restaurant in Arizona, the First 100 Fans promotion continues to draw Chick-fil-A fans from all over the country. Armed with tents, computers, games, and even swimming pools, campers turn the grand opening event into an all-night tailgate party.

"When we started the First 100 Fans promotion we were stunned when someone arrived 18 hours in advance and asked where he could wait in line," says Chick-fil-A Inc. President Dan Cathy, who has camped out at dozens of openings. "Almost five years later, we've given away more than $7 million in free Chick-fil-A food across the country to raving fans who've braved snow, wind, rain, and triple-digit temperatures to help us celebrate the opening of each new Chick-fil-A."

Chick-fil-A grand openings attract fans from around the country with some traveling many hours and hundreds of miles from several states away to take part in the festivities.

Joe Mayo has been selected as the franchised operator of the new restaurant. He has been with the company for five years and is transferring from the Chick-fil-A restaurant at Wells Road. Mayo is a graduate of Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia, and was employed by Bell South prior to joining the Chick-fil-A family. He is married to Tabitha and has two children.

"Since its first chain restaurant opened more than 40 years ago, Chick-fil-A has become synonymous with freshly prepared food and 'my pleasure' customer service," Mayo says. "My team and I are eager to continue that legacy at our new Jacksonville location."

The Chick-fil-A at Oakleaf Plantation features a 4,227 square-foot interior that seats 134 and features warm colors and wood accents as well as an indoor play area for children that includes an interactive section for toddlers.

With this year forecasted to be the chain's most aggressive product rollout period in Chick-fil-A history, the new Jacksonville Chick-fil-A restaurant will include several new menu enhancements that were rolled out chain-wide on May 19.

These include a new Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken & Fruit Salad with Harvest Nut Granola topping and a new Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips Salad with strips that are 50 percent larger than the previous offering. The Chick-fil-A Chicken Salad Sandwich also has undergone a makeover and is now served on new premium Wheatberry bread with Green Leaf lettuce. The chain's Cool Wrap selections now come in a new multi-grain flatbread.

With more quick-service customers saying they favor the ease of drive-thru service, Chick-fil-A's award winning drive-thru offers a convenient way for Chick-fil-A customers to get their freshly prepared food on the go. The new restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving a full breakfast menu until 10:30 a.m.

QSR magazine's 2007 Best in Drive-Thru in America Survey found Chick-fil-A top-ranked with a 95 percent score in order accuracy, a category that remains the most important service criteria for drive-thru customers. With a majority of survey participants saying service speed is second only to order accuracy, Chick-fil-A finished second in service speed among chains with more than two cars in the drive-thru. Chick-fil-A has been recognized among the winners of the annual industry survey for six consecutive years.