Chick-fil-A will do its part to support the local economy with the opening of the first stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant in Estero, Florida, on March 5, giving away more than $26,000 in free food and creating more than 65 new jobs in the market.

Chick-fil-A will award a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A Meals (52 certificates) to each of the first 100 adults in line, age 18 and older with identification, at the restaurant located at 21900 S. Tamiami Trail. The line officially begins forming up to 24 hours before the grand opening with the prizes being awarded March 5 sometime between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. The restaurant will open for business immediately afterward.

With the country facing challenging economic times, Chick-fil-A continues to grow with plans to add 65 new stand-alone locations across the nation this year, creating more than 4,200 new jobs as well as providing a positive business impact in local communities.

“Chick-fil-A is grateful that we are in a position to continue our restaurant expansion,” says Chick-fil-A Inc. President Dan Cathy, son of the chain’s founder Truett Cathy. “Our dedicated franchised Operators across the chain continue to provide freshly prepared Chick-fil-A menu items and exemplary service that keep our raving fans dining with us. We don’t take that for granted.”

One way Chick-fil-A thanks its most loyal customers is by giving away more than $26,000 in free food as part of its “First 100” promotion at each grand opening. Chick-fil-A’s raving fans often come from hours away, bringing tents, computers, furniture, games and even swimming pools to participate in the event which was launched more than five years ago to celebrate the opening of the chain’s first stand-alone restaurant in Arizona.

“Since that first person pulled up in our parking lot in 2003 and asked where to get in line, we’ve given away more than $9.1 million in free Chick-fil-A food at our grand openings,” says Cathy, who has camped out at more than 80 of the events across the country.

“We’re flattered that our new customers think enough of our food and our service that they are willing to brave snow, wind, rain and triple-digit temperatures to help us celebrate each new Chick-fil-A opening year round. Plus, it’s just lots of fun.”

Frank Yurchak has been selected to operate the new Estero Chick-fil-A restaurant, where he will employ approximately 65 team members. Yurchak began his career with Chick-fil-A in 1984 and most recently, was the franchisee at the Chick-fil-A at Lakeland Square Mall in Lakeland, Florida.

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