ST. GEORGE – St. George’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant will open next Thursday, bringing more than 75 new jobs and the chance for 100 adults to win free Chick-fil-A meals for a year as the chain reaches the 1oth anniversary of its signature grand opening celebration and its 1,700th restaurant location.
Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” event, which began as a way to celebrate the first stand-alone Chick-fil-A in Arizona in 2003, immediately became the cornerstone of every Chick-fil-A grand opening; the first person arrived more than 18 hours the day before, wondering where to get in line. Others soon followed and by the time the restaurant opened for business the next day, more than 100 were waiting.
Humbled and surprised by the dedication of its fans, Chick-fil-A quickly implemented the “First 100” at every grand opening and in the past 10 years has given away more than $18 million in free food through almost 700 grand openings. An additional $2.5 million is slated to be given away at 102 grand openings this year.
The new St. George restaurant at 15 South River Road in the Red Rock Commons will be the scene of the latest Chick-fil-A grand opening celebration.
The first 100 adults, ages 18 and older with identification, in line when the doors open at 6 a.m. on Thursday, March 28, will each win a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A Meals (52 coupons, each offering a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries, and a medium drink) – a total of more than $29,000 in free food.
Here’s what you do to be in the “First 100”
The line officially opens at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. The free meal cards will be awarded the next morning, Thursday, around 6 a.m. So, if there are more than 100 people by 6 a.m. on Wednesday, all 100 spots will be determined by raffle held that morning and those selected will need to camp out to secure their spot for the “First 100” on Thursday. For complete rules, see Chick-fil-A First 100 Promotion and First 100 Raffle Rules.
For 10 years, Chick-fil-A has hosted the parking lot parties, providing security, entertainment and, of course, plenty of Chick-fil-A to its dedicated fans who often arrive more than 24 hours in advance prepared with TVs, computers, tents, games and other gear to make their stay more comfortable. Over the past decade, the First 100 Celebrations have been the backdrop for family reunions, girls’ nights out, birthday celebrations, college study parties and several marriage proposals as people come from around the corner or across the country to be part of the festivities.
The new Chick-fil-A will open 10 years after the chain opened its first stand-alone restaurant in Utah at South Towne Marketplace in Sandy in January 2003. Chick-fil-A first opened in the state in 1981 inside the Newgate Mall in Ogden and grew over time to include restaurants inside several malls in the metro Salt Lake City area. With the opening of the Sandy restaurant, the chain kicked off a free-standing expansion in the state that continues with the opening in St. George which follows the February opening in Murray – bringing the total in the state to 17 locations.
Chick-fil-A founder Cathy, who turned 92 on March 14, first began serving his boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich, pressure cooked and served on a buttered bun with two crucial pickles, at the Dwarf Grill which opened in Hapeville, Ga., in 1946. It was the signature menu item when the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in 1967 and though many other items have joined the menu over the years, it remains the centerpiece of the menu as the chain has grown to over 1,700 restaurants in 39 states and Washington D.C.
Franchised Chick-fil-A Operator Deven Macdonald has been selected to operate the new stand-alone restaurant in St. George where his family has often vacationed and his parents are now living.
Macdonald is a former software executive with NetIQ where he worked in global product and sales operations with efforts that earned him the company’s Presidents Club and Employee of the Year recognitions. Macdonald earned a degree in marketing communications and business management from Brigham Young University. He is married to Brittany and they are relocating from Salt Lake Valley with their four children. Active in his LDS faith, Macdonald has also coached youth sports and worked with the Boy Scouts of America. His family looks forward to setting up roots in St. George.
“Our focus on freshly prepared food and personal customer service is as central to our new restaurant as it was the day Truett opened his first Chick-fil-A location,” Macdonald said. “That commitment continues for me and my team members at our new St. George location where we can’t wait to welcome and serve our guests, especially those experiencing Chick-fil-A for the first time.”
The new 4,700-square-foot restaurant will feature free Wi-Fi and will seat 116 with additional outdoor seating for 32. It has warm colors and wood accents and an interactive play area for children. The 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. The restaurant is closed on Sunday.
Chick-fil-A continues to win industry accolades including research firm Technomic’s 2012 Customer Restaurant Brand study which analyzed 52 restaurants. The firm polled 38,000 consumers in the categories they said mattered most – food, cleanliness, service, value, beverage and atmosphere. Chick-fil-A was the only chain to rank in the top five of all six key categories.
Men’s Health “Eat This, Not That” 2013 edition again gave the chain high marks (A-) and named it one of the top two restaurants providing healthier menu options. Chick-fil-A continues to rank high in QSR Magazine’s annual Drive-Thru Performance Study which in 2011 was narrowed to only measure the six best, consistent brands. These “benchmark” brands, joined by one rotating regional chain, are measured in categories ranging from speed of service and order accuracy to customer service and cleanliness. In the 2012 study, which included more than 2,000 visits to restaurants around the country, Chick-fil-A was No. 1 in order accuracy and had the friendliest service. The study also found Chick-fil-A team members displayed a “pleasant demeanor” 94 percent of the time, a full 14 percentage points above the next highest-rated restaurant chain.
Submitted by: Cindi Pickett, CP Communications Inc.
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