Vicksburg's first Chick-fil-A® restaurant will open May 16 bringing more than 65 new jobs and the chance for 100 adults to win free Chick-fil-A meals for a year as the chain reaches the 10th anniversary of its signature grand opening celebration.
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 when 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 at almost 700 grand openings. An additional $2.5 million is slated to be given away at 102 grand openings this year.
The new Vicksburg restaurant at 3403 Halls Ferry Road will be the scene of the latest Chick-fil-A grand opening celebration when the first 100 adults, ages 18 and older with identification, in line when the doors open about 6 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, each will win a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A® Meals (52 coupons with each consisting of a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries™ and a medium drink) – a total of nearly $30,000 in free food. The line officially opens at 6 a.m., Wednesday, May 15, with the free meal cards being awarded Thursday, May 16, about 6 a.m. The restaurant will open for business immediately thereafter. If there are more than 100 people by 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15, all 100 spots will be determined by raffle held that morning with those selected needing to camp out to secure their spot. For complete rules, see Chick-fil-A First 100 Promotion.
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.
Consumer habits have changed dramatically since 1967 when S. Truett Cathy opened his first Chick-fil-A restaurant inside Atlanta's Greenbriar Mall. While that tiny location pioneered the mall food court concept, the majority of the chain's new restaurants today cater not only to customers who want to dine inside but also to those who prefer the convenience of drive-thru service.
Vicksburg first Chick-fil-A restaurant features the chain's latest interior and kitchen design along with dual drive-thru ordering lanes to expand its award-winning drive-thru service. Two drive-thru lanes will welcome motorists who will place their orders at separate screens and then merge into a single lane to pay for and pick up their food. With a majority of customers at Chick-fil-A stand-alone restaurants choosing drive-thru, the ability for two drivers to simultaneously order should mean quicker service.
Chick-fil-A opened its first Mississippi restaurant in 1978 and continued expanding over the next 35 years. The new Vicksburg location is the first for Warren County. Currently, there are 29 Chick-fil-A locations in the state of Mississippi.
This year Chick-fil-A will open more restaurants than ever before. The new Chick-fil-A at Vicksburg is one of 102 new restaurants the chain plans to open across the country in 2013, creating more than 6,200 new jobs.
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy first began serving his boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich, pressured 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 1,700 restaurants in 38 states and Washington D.C.
Franchised Chick-fil-A Operator Nick Jones has been selected to operate the first stand-alone restaurant in Vicksburg. Jones' first job was at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Georgia, while in high school. Nick was a recipient of the Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship and attended the University of Georgia where he graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in business management. Jones has served as an officer in the National Guard for 11 years and is currently a Captain. He completed two combat tours, one to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Jones Family recently moved from south Atlanta to Vicksburg and is excited to serve the community.
"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," said Jones. "That commitment continues for me and my team members at our new Vicksburg location where we can't wait to welcome and serve our guests."
The new restaurant has seating for 104 with additional outdoor seating and 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. As part of the chain's ongoing commitment to offer fresh, delicious and nutritious options, the restaurant's menu will feature an early addition of its new line of premium salads that are handcrafted onsite using top-quality ingredients and include Cobb, Asian and Grilled Market Salads and a Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap. They are now available nationwide.
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 number one 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.
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