Chick-fil-A's New Restaurants Strike 'Gold' in California -- Create Record Sales and Fan Frenzy
Premier of First Two Free-Standing Locations Generates Combined Three-Day Sales Total of $136,463
The Jan. 29 opening of the Chino Hills restaurant set a three-day (Thursday-Saturday) opening sales record ($65,522) for a free-standing restaurant with the largest single-hour lunch sales period for the Atlanta- based chain, topping ambitious sales projections by more than one-third for the opening period. More than 150 customers also camped overnight to stake their claim that they were one of the "First 100" customers to eat at a free- standing Chick-fil-A restaurant when the Chino Hills location opened.
Exactly a week later, California's second free-standing Chick-fil-A restaurant at The Market Place in Irvine surpassed the Chino Hills sales performance, setting a new sales record for the chicken chain over a three-day (Thurs.-Sat.) opening period. Total sales were $70,941, including three record single-hours. For the "First 100" free Chick-fil-A Meals promotion, customers arrived as early as Tuesday afternoon for the Thursday (Feb. 5) morning Irvine opening.
The two new openings caused traffic jams while drawing fans from throughout Southern California who traveled long distances to be a part of history at the chain's first California free-standing restaurants. The Chino Hills and Irvine openings are the first two out of a potential 75 free- standing Chick-fil-A restaurants being planned in the state over the next five years which will generate more than 4,000 jobs. The next opening is scheduled in Corona in early March and ground is being broken for locations near San Diego as well.
"If Chick-fil-A was a movie, then I'd have to say that the premier openings of our first two free-standing restaurants in California were huge box office hits," said Chick-fil-A, Inc. President Dan Cathy (son of Chick- fil-A founder Truett Cathy), who stayed up all night with more than 150 customers waiting in line at the Irvine location for their chance to win a free year's supply of Chick-fil-A Meals. "We definitely feel like the red carpet has been rolled out for us here in Southern California from raving fans, including those who already know Chick-fil-A and those who had never tried Chick-fil-A. It's wonderful to discover such a following to the Chick- fil-A brand, like the first two customers at Chino Hills who learned of us from friends and family, so they decided to spend the night 17 hours in advance of the opening to be the first to try it.
"We're excited that our opening sales performance is confirming that the Chick-fil-A Cows are right ... Californians will indeed Eat Mor Chikin," concluded Cathy.
Plans call for Chick-fil-A to build as many as seven free-standing restaurants in California this year. While the company initially will focus on locations in Orange County, the Inland Empire and San Diego, long-range plans include potential locations in Los Angeles County, Sacramento and the Central Valley. Over the course of the next five years, as much as 20 percent of Chick-fil-A's restaurant growth will be in California -- becoming one of Chick-fil-A's largest investments in property and people in a single market within such a short period of time.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, the nation's second-largest quick service chicken restaurant chain based on sales, opened California's first Chick-fil-A restaurant in 1981 at Los Cerritos Center, Cerritos. In addition to the Chino Hills location at 3460 Grand Ave. and the Irvine restaurant at The Market Place at 13490 Jamboree Rd., Chick-fil-A has three other mall-based locations (for its first 20 years after starting in 1967, the chain operated only in shopping malls) including Westfield Shoppingtown Solano, Fairfield; Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance; and South Bay Galleria, Redondo Beach.
Named Quick Service Restaurant magazine's "Best Drive-Thru in America" for the past two years, Chick-fil-A's award-winning menu features freshly prepared items that include the original Chick-fil-A Sandwich, freshly squeezed lemonade, all-breast meat chicken nuggets, chargrilled chicken sandwiches and Cool Wraps, chicken noodle soup, and several salads, including the recently introduced Southwest Chargrilled Salad. The chain has always only used natural, all-white breast meats for its filets and all other entrée menu offerings.
Credited with inventing the boneless breast of chicken sandwich and the first to introduce chicken nuggets, Chick-fil-A is a nine-time recipient of Restaurants and Institutions magazine's "Choice In Chains" Customer Satisfaction award in the chicken category. In addition to its great tasting menu items, Chick-fil-A has for many years boasted nutritionally superior entree items and salads as well. Currently, the chain offers eight entree items (including entree salads) and three side items with 10 or fewer grams of fat. It also offers five entree items (including entree salads) under 300 calories. And all of its entree items have virtually no trans fats (less than 0.5g per item).
Continuing its unprecedented, 36-year run of consecutive sales gains, Chick-fil-A's 2003 system-wide sales reached more than $1.53 billion, an 11.77 percent increase over its 2002 figures and a positive 4.24 percent same-store sales increase, which nearly tripled its 2002 same-store performance.
Chick-fil-A, Inc. has more than 1,125 restaurants in 37 states and Washington, D.C. It serves nutritious and freshly prepared food products in malls, free-standing units, drive-thru outlets, Chick-fil-A Dwarf House(R) and Truett's Grill(R) full-service restaurants, and through licensed outlets in college campuses, hospitals, airports, businesses and industrial sites.