CHICAGO, June 14, 2011 // PRNewswire // -- Less than a year after Chick-fil-A opened its first Chicagoland location, answering the impassioned pleas of its raving fans in the area, the chain will debut a first-of-its-kind Chick-fil-A restaurant on June 16 when it opens the doors of its first downtown Chicago restaurant on Loyola University's Water Tower campus.
Chick-fil-A and its renegade Cows will celebrate the landmark opening by awarding a free year's supply of Chick-fil-A to the first 100 adults in line that morning at the new location. Chick-fil-A's First 100 Celebration ushers in each grand opening around the country. Extreme weather conditions don't dampen the enthusiasm of the participants who often arrive many hours in advance.
A similar scene is expected in Chicago where 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 30 E. Chicago Ave. on Loyola University's Water Tower campus at Chicago and Wabash Avenues.
The line officially opens at 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 15, with the free meal cards being awarded Thursday, June 16, sometime between 6 a.m. and 6:10 a.m. The restaurant will open for business immediately thereafter. If there are more than 100 people by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, all 100 spots will be determined by a raffle. See http://tinyurl.com/co5jlh for complete rules. Due to the unique location of this restaurant, there is no parking provided and tents will not be allowed.
The new In-Line Chick-fil-A restaurant on Chicago Avenue, the first design of its kind for the Atlanta-based chain, is well-suited for business and residential customers in the heart of Chicago. As consumer lifestyles evolve, the In-Line concept allows the chain to further customize the dining experience based on a specific location where traffic is high but limited space does not allow for the traditional stand-alone concept.
"We're excited about this new design which enables us to better meet our customers' needs in areas where property is limited," said Dan T. Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, Inc. "Chicago is an ideal market to introduce this concept nationally based on area demographics and our strong desire to continue to expand in the region."
Designed to serve urban consumers on the go, the Chicago restaurant features an indoor queue line and hostess station to facilitate service at the registers, resulting in quicker service for consumers, particularly during peak meal times. The restaurant's upscale interior includes a bench made from timbers used for the original bleacher seating at Soldier Field, Chicago-themed artwork incorporating Chick-fil-A's signature Cow mascot and other features designed to capture the uniqueness of Chicago while enhancing the indoor dining experience.
For those dining inside, there are several seating options available including stools and tables, banquets with side tables along with more traditional tables and chairs. The use of stone, wood and metal along with several handcrafted design elements create a sophisticated yet relaxing dining atmosphere. The restaurant also features the chain's expanded kitchen design, allowing team members to quickly prepare fresh Chick-fil-A food during peak meal times and for large catering orders.
Chicago native Lauren Silich is the franchised Operator of the new Chick-fil-A restaurant in downtown Chicago. She and her husband, Steve, a sergeant with the Chicago Police Department, have one child.
"Truett Cathy started Chick-fil-A more than 42 years ago with the aim of providing the best in freshly prepared food and customer service," said Silich. "The goal remains the same for my team as we bring Chick-fil-A to my hometown with a new restaurant uniquely designed to serve our signature products to customers in the heart of the city."
The downtown Chicago First 100 event will reward and celebrate customer loyalty with a 12-hour celebration near the restaurant that will include music, contests, games, entertainment and, of course, plenty of Chick-fil-A. Since the event began in 2003, Chick-fil-A has given away more than $13 million in free food at its restaurant grand openings.
Immediately following the awarding of the year supplies, the new Chick-fil-A will be open for business Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., serving a full breakfast menu until 10:30 a.m., featuring our signature, made-from-scratch chicken biscuit as well a variety of choices including fresh fruit cups, breakfast burritos, bagel sandwiches and yogurt parfaits.
Sensitive to rising health concerns, especially among children, Chick-fil-A offers a completely trans fat-free menu and was among the first national quick-service restaurant chains to do so. At no extra charge, parents may substitute a small fruit cup for Waffle Potato Fries® included in Chick-fil-A Kid's Meals®.
In the December 2010 issue of Men's Health, the publication discussed America's Best and Worst Restaurants. It named Chick-fil-A as the best chicken chain. While touting the Chick-fil-A's healthier menu, the magazine stated, "Bottom line: You won't find a better meal at any fast food joint in the country."
The opening on Loyola's Water Tower campus comes nine months after Chick-fil-A opened its first – and long-awaited – Chicagoland restaurant in Aurora. Answering the pleas of Chick-fil-A loyalists living in the Chicago area, the new restaurant opened to record-breaking sales as customers were finally able to get the freshly prepared menu items and stellar customer service they craved without traveling out of state to the closest Chick-fil-A. The chain has since opened stand-alone restaurants in Wheaton and Orland Park with another slated for Schaumburg this fall. Chick-fil-A plans to open as many as 14 Chicago locations in the next three to five years
"Although the phone calls, letters and online petitions made it clear many were waiting for us in Chicago, the response to our arrival has been overwhelming and humbling," said Cathy, whose father founded the chain. "We could not have asked for a warmer welcome than we received with our first three locations and know our customers are especially excited to see us open in downtown Chicago."
After reaching $3 billion in sales for the first time in 2009, Chick-fil-A continued the positive trend in 2010 reporting sales that topped $3.58 billion. Marking Chick-fil-A's 43rd year of consecutive growth, last year's sales represented an 11.37 percent overall and 5.92 percent same-store performance over the chain's sales performance the previous year.
Continuing to expand despite the country's economic challenges, Chick-fil-A is projected to open 90 restaurants this year, with anticipation of creating another 5,000 new jobs across the country.
Truett Cathy developed the original Chick-fil-A boneless breast of chicken sandwich in his 24-hour Dwarf House® diner near Atlanta in the early 1960s, and he opened his first Chick-fil-A® restaurant in Atlanta's Greenbriar Mall in 1967. The chain has grown to include more than 1,556 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C. In December 2009, Chick-fil-A, Inc. reached $3 billion in sales for the first time – marking its 42nd consecutive year of sales growth. More information about Chick-fil-A is available on the chain's websites, located at www.chick-fil-a.com, www.facebook.com/chick-fil-a, www.chick-fil-a.com/pressroom or www.truettcathy.com.