Chanticleer News Editor
Chick-fil-A opened their doors to the Jacksonville community this morning, August 8, at 6 a.m. to a crowd of excited customers who were hungry for chicken sandwiches.
Customers began setting up tents in the Chick-fil-A parking lot 12 hours before opening to be one of the first 100 customers. Participants braved the warm, rainy night to earn one free Chick-fil-A sandwich meal per week for a year, a total of 52 meals valued at an average of $320 per winner, $32,000 worth of food, in total.
“Our first day has been awesome,” said Jason Soriano, owner of the Jacksonville Chick-fil-A. “We’ve had to work out some first day kinks, but we’ve only gotten positive feedback from guests.”
Soriano and his wife, Ashley Soriano, have owned a Chick-fil-A in Montgomery for three years, prior to opening the new Jacksonville location.
The new restaurant features a two-lane drive-thru, which Soriano says is designed to allow the kitchen more time to make the food and the drive-thru more time to get the drinks ready.
“The two-lane drive-thru is to get more cars in the queue,” said Soriano. “So, by the time the car gets to the window, we have everything ready and we’re able to hand it right out of the window.”
Customers generally expressed satisfaction with the opening of the new Chick-fil-A, like Sydney Sorrells, a JSU student who said her chicken nuggets were so “hot and fresh,” she has to “wait a second for them to cool” before she could eat them.
“My dining experience at the new Chick-fil-A was quick and easy,” said Sorrells. “I walked in around 12:40 and was ordering my food by around 12:43.”
Chick-fil-A is known nationally for their customer service, having earned an award as the No. 1 restaurant on the American Customer Satisfaction Index four years in a row. Sorrells echoes the widespread satisfaction with their customer service.
“The employees were friendly from the moment I walked in the door,” said Sorrells. “I was greeted and had the door held open for me and even had my trash picked up at the end of my dining experience.”
The Theron Montgomery Building (TMB) on the campus of Jacksonville State University has had a Chick-fil-A in the building for 21 years, which was recently renovated to include a full-service Chick-fil-A, but Sorrells says that it isn’t the same.
“This Chick-fil-A brings a convenience to the residents of the town who may not want to step inside the TMB or deal with the hassle of paying the little extra it is for the Chick-fil-A in the TMB,” said Sydney Sorrells.
William Medley, a JSU student, camped out overnight to be one of the first 100 customers and win free Chick-fil-A for a year.
“I figured 12 hours of my life for free Chick-fil-A sounded like a fair deal.” said Medley. “My friends invited me to do it, so I thought it would be something fun to do with them, and it turned out to be really fun. We played games and had snacks, just having a good time.”
The store is located at 500 Pelham Road South between Cook Out and Jack’s. The restaurant is serving a full breakfast menu until 10:30 a.m. with normal operating hours being 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday.
The Jacksonville Police Department (JPD) released a statement saying that there are to be no left-hand turns into Chick-fil-A from Pelham Road, and Vann Street is blocked off from Pelham Road to prevent clogged traffic. JPD has not specified when Vann Street will be reopened or if/when left-hand turns can resume.
**Featured photo courtesy of Jacksonville Chick-fil-A.**