ATLANTA - April 3, 2015 // PRNewswire // - Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. announced today the grand opening dates of its first three restaurants in the Puget Sound area, as well as several food sourcing partnerships with Washington farmers, growers and bakers. The restaurants, which are expected to bring 240 full- and part-time jobs to the area, will open in Bellevue on April 9 and Tacoma on April 16, with the third tentatively scheduled for May 7 in Lynnwood. Each franchised restaurant will be independently owned and operated by a local resident who will control the day-to-day operations of the restaurant.
As part of the chain's expansion into the Pacific Northwest, Chick-fil-A has engaged several local vendors and food sourcing partners to bring fresh, Washington-grown food to Chick-fil-A customers. While Chick-fil-A is new to Washington, it has longstanding ties with potato farms and apple orchards throughout the state. In fact, Chick-fil-A sources all potatoes used to make hash browns and Waffle Potato Fries™ from the Columbia River Basin – buying more than 438 million pounds of potatoes last year alone, which helps employ more than 23,500 people working in Washington's potato industry.
"Washington state potato farmers grow about 20 percent of all potatoes in the U.S. and they lead the nation in French fry production. This is because Washington farmers grow potatoes that have the perfect consistency for the perfect French fry," said Matt Harris, Director of Government Affairs and Assistant Executive Director for the Washington State Potato Commission. "It is a great opportunity to have Chick-fil-A using so many Washington state potatoes in their restaurants."
Each of the franchised Puget Sound Chick-fil-A restaurants is expected to source more than 137,000 pounds of Washington potatoes per year. Lamb Weston®, Chick-fil-A's primary supplier of potato products, works with farmers throughout the Columbia River Basin and has been a valued partner within the Chick-fil-A potato supply process for more than 30 years.
Additionally, all of the apples used to supply Chick-fil-A's west region restaurants are grown in Washington and supplied by Crunch Pak®, which is headquartered in Cashmere, Wash. As a chain, last year Chick-fil-A purchased more than 2.25 million pounds of Washington apples which were then served in fruit cups and salads in all Chick-fil-A restaurants in the West and Southwest regions. Lynnae Schneller, who is the franchise owner of Chick-fil-A in Tacoma and a Tacoma native, knows firsthand how important the commitment to fresh food is for customers.
"As someone who grew up making food alongside my grandma and eventually turning her secret pickle recipe into a local business, I know that quality has to be top priority," Schneller says. "If you want your customers to keep coming back, you have to deliver consistent, fresh food that's of premium quality. That's something that I can promise my customers and something that's consistent at every Chick-fil-A restaurant."
Chick-fil-A's signature menu item is the hand-breaded, boneless chicken breast sandwich, and each Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich sold in Washington will be served on a locally baked bun from Franz Bakery. Franz – a fourth generation, family-owned baking company – will bake all buns in its downtown Seattle bakery and deliver more than 500,000 buns annually to each Chick-fil-A restaurant in Bellevue, Tacoma and Lynnwood. Jessica Larson, marketing manager for Franz Bakery, says that like Chick-fil-A, Franz is committed to using only the best locally grown ingredients in their product.
"We're proud to be a local bakery that serves local grocers and restaurants and to partner with the Chick-fil-A restaurants opening in our home base," says Larson. "For more than 40 years we've locally sourced as many ingredients as possible. We're located near some of the best wheat in the country, and we're excited to bring that quality to Chick-fil-A's Washington customers."
Chick-fil-A is known for its menu of fresh, hand-crafted food and offers a variety of options for guests of all ages. The restaurant uses only premium ingredients and makes many of its menu items from scratch in the restaurant each day, including hand-chopped salads, hand-spun milkshakes and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Chick-fil-A is also collaborating with national and regional poultry suppliers to ensure all Chick-fil-A restaurants, nationwide, serve chicken raised without antibiotics by 2019. Chick-fil-A, Inc. announced in March that it has already converted 20 percent of its supply chain to reach its commitment to serving antibiotic-free chicken.
Chick-fil-A's sustainability efforts focus on serving better food in greener restaurants with reduced waste. The three Chick-fil-A franchised restaurants opening in Puget Sound are built to LEED® specifications with water and energy efficiency features, air quality control and waste diversion efforts, among other initiatives. The restaurants will also pilot a first-of-its-kind recycling program for foam cups, which can be upcycled into nametags, pens and picture frames. Nearly all Chick-fil-A restaurants recycle cardboard and plastic films in back-of-house operations, and all napkins, tray liners and Kid's Meal bags are made from 100 percent recycled content.
The Puget Sound Chick-fil-A restaurant businesses are locally owned and operated by individual franchise owners who will oversee all day-to-day operations of the restaurant. They each plan to be actively involved in their communities through partnerships with local schools, charities and non-profit organizations. Local ownership includes:
These new restaurants are three of more than 100 new restaurants the chain plans to open across the country in 2015, which are expected to create more than 8,000 new jobs. In 2014, Chick-fil-A reported an increase in the number of new restaurants initially planned for the year and record-setting annual sales of more than $6 billion, the 47th consecutive year of sales growth since the company began in 1967.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family owned and privately held franchise company devoted to serving the local communities in which franchised restaurants operate. Known for its original chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A restaurants serve freshly prepared food in more than 1,900 restaurants in 41 states and Washington, D.C.
Founded in the early 1960s by S. Truett Cathy, the Chick-fil-A system produced sales of nearly $6 billion in 2014, which marks 47 consecutive years of sales growth. Chick-fil-A was recognized in 2014 as one of America's "Top 20 Most Admired Brands" by The Harris Poll, "Top Fast Food Chicken Chain" by Consumer Reports and the only restaurant named to 24/7 Wall Street's "Customer Service Hall of Fame." More information on Chick-fil-A is available on the chain's website located at www.chick-fil-a.com.