Chick-fil-A is known for operating six days a week. It’s a practice that’s been in place since founder S. Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant in Georgia over 75 years ago. Now, a new bill introduced in New York is taking aim at that decades-long tradition.
Sponsored by New York Assemblyman Tony Simone, Bill A08336 would require food service establishments at transportation facilities and rest areas owned by the New York State Thruway Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to remain open seven days a week. That means future Chick-fil-A locations at rest stops along the I-90 corridor in the state would be forced to operate on Sundays.
In a memo submitted to the state assembly last week, Simone said the proposed legislation will ensure New York’s public transportation facilities “offer a reliable source of food services” for “the traveling public and commercial trucking industry” that rely on those services “to rest, refuel, and purchase food and beverages.”
“While there is nothing objectionable about a fast food restaurant closing on a particular day of the week, service areas dedicated to travelers is an inappropriate location for such a restaurant,” the memo states. “Publicly owned service areas should use their space to maximally benefit the public. Allowing for retail space to go unused one seventh of the week or more is a disservice and unnecessary inconvenience to travelers who rely on these service areas.”
The memo specifically mentions the Thruway Authority’s current service area redesign and redevelopment project. It calls out the decision by Irish convenience store chain Applegreen–which took over the leases for all 27 transportation facilities along the thruway in 2021–to bring Chick-fil-A restaurants to some of those locations. The restaurant has so far opened outposts at six service areas, including Ardsley, Plattekill, New Baltimore, Iroquois, Chittenango, and Clifton Springs. A seventh location for the Sloatsburg service area is currently under construction.
The bill would only apply to future food service contracts at public transportation facilities, so Chick-fil-A locations currently open or slated to open as part of the ongoing service area redesign project wouldn’t be required to open on Sundays.
“As part of the new 33-year contract to manage these facilities, Applegreen is required to have at least one hot and cold food option available 24 hours a day at all locations,” Jennifer Givner, spokesperson for the Thruway Authority, told QSR. “Chick-fil-A’s Sunday closure is a brand requirement which Applegreen factored into their tenant plan. When the project is complete, Chick-fil-A will operate in less than half of the service areas on the thruway–all of which have at least one other food concept and a convenience store open seven days a week with up to three additional concepts and a convenience store at the largest and highest volume locations.”
Bill A08336 must pass both of the state houses before going to the governor. If signed into law, it would include exclusions for temporary concessions, like farmers markets and local vendors. The port Authority portion of the law would only take effect if New Jersey passed similar legislation.