Abilene’s Newest Chick-fil-A Restaurant Opens July 12; First 100 in Line at New Restaurant win Free Year’s Supply of Chick-fil-A

Abilene’s Newest Chick-fil-A Restaurant Opens July 12; First 100 in Line at New Restaurant win Free Year’s Supply of Chick-fil-A

By Anne Lerner & Brenda Morrow

 

 

 

Stand-AloneRestaurant on Texas Highway 351 Creates Nearly 80 New Jobs ABILENE, Texas –Forty-five years after the first Chick-fil-A® restaurant opened in anAtlanta mall, pioneering mall food courts and introducing its signatureboneless-breast-of-chicken sandwich, the chain celebrated that opening of itsnewest stand-alone restaurant in Abilene on July 12 by giving away a freeyear’s supply of Chick-fil-A to the first 100 adults in line on grand openingmorning. Chick-fil-A’s “First 100 Celebration” quickly became a hallmark of eachgrand opening when the chain first held the event in Arizona in 2003. More than18 hours before the restaurant opened, the first person arrived and asked whereto get in line. Since then, the chain has given away more than $16 million infree food at almost 600 grand openings. The parking lot parties attractChick-fil-A loyal customers who come from around the block and across the countryequipped with couches, TV’s. computers, tents and other gear. Even extremeweather conditions do not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants who oftenarrive more than 24 hours in advance. {{more}} The latest Chick-fil-A First 100 celebration occurred at 1750 TexasHighway 351 in Abilene where the chain awarded a one-year supply of freeChick-fil-A®Meals to each of the first 100 adults in line, ages 18 andolder with identification – a total of more than $26,000 in free food. The lineofficially opened at 6:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 11, with free meal cards beingawarded Thursday, July 12, at about 6 a.m. The restaurant opened for businessimmediately thereafter. The newest stand-alone restaurant in Abilene features the chain’slatest interior and kitchen design, allowing Mrs. Pola Ozuniga is standing behind two of her realatives. Mrs. Ozuniga is from San Antino. She has been to Chic  openings in Houston, Dallas, Ft.Worth, Arlington, Kyle and Laredo. She said that she ‘loves chicken and that she have children and grandchildren that love chicken” Mrs. Ozunia is 83 she will be busy working elections this fall. Photo by Floyd Millerteam members to quickly servecustomers who dine in, drive-through or request catered orders for largeroff-site events. The restaurants design and capacity illustrates the historicshift in consumer habits from 1967 when S. Truett Cathy opened his firstChick-fil-A restaurant inside Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta, to 2011 when thechain opened its 1,000th stand-alone restaurant with the majority ofbusiness now coming from customers on the go. The new North Abilene Chick-fil-A restaurant is one of 96 locations,with more than a dozen of those projected for Texas, the chain plans to openacross the country in 2012, creating nearly 7,000 new jobs. Despite the challenging economy, Chick-fil-A continued to grow in 2011,reporting record-setting annual sales These men developed a new friendship while playing chess and waiting to see if they would be one of the lucky 100 at Chick-fil-A’s grand opening. Photo by Floyd Millerof more than $4 billion, representing a13 percent increase over 2010 and the 44th consecutive year of salesgrowth since the company began in 1967. In 2011, the chain continued itsChicago expansion with the opening of several locations including a downtownrestaurant that opened to record sales as well as its first restaurants inHollywood, Calif., and Idaho. Chick-fil-A’s overall growth will continue in2012 with the projected addition of 79 stand-alone, two malls and 15 licensedlocations. “We are thrilled to follow up a very exciting 2011 where we saw theopening of out 1,000th stand-alone restaurant with continued growthacross the country this year,” said Dan T. Cathy, president and COO,Chick-fil-A, Inc. “Our outstanding franchised Operators and their team members provideboth the freshly prepared food and excellent service on both sides of thecounter that has our customers asking us to bring Chick-fil-A closer to wherethey live. In fact, the team at North Abilene will be glad to provide a‘Backstage Tour’ of the new location to restaurant guests.” Founder Truett Cathy perfected his recipe for a bonelessbreast-of-chicken sandwich while operating the Dwarf Grill which he opened inHapeville, GA., in 1946. The sandwich became the signature menu item when heopened the first Chi-fil-A, and it continues to be the hallmark product of thechain as it has grown to more than 1,635 restaurants in 39 states andWashington D.C. Franchised Chick-fil-A Operator Wesley Smith is relocating from thechain’s Mall of Abilene location to operate the new stand-alone restaurant onTexas Highway 351. Smith, having started his Chick-fil-A career as a high schoolstudent in San Angelo, has 15 years of Chick-fil-A experience with six of thoseyears as an Operator. He is involved in many community organizations, includingserving as a board member of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, GoodwillIndustries, Junior Achievement, and West Texas Rehab. Smith and his wife,Amber, have two children, and are very excited to open Abilene’s secondstand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant. “Chick-fil-A has come a long way since Truett opened the first tinyChick-fil-A restaurant in an Atlanta mall 45 years ago, but one thing hasremained constant – out focus on providing top quality food in a friendlyneighborhood environment,” said Smith. “My team members and I share that samecommitment at out new restaurant and can’t wait to welcome and serve out newguests.” Visit the West Texas Tribune website at https://westtexastribune.com/ for therest of the story!