Chick-fil-A fans, rejoice!
The much anticipated first-ever official Manhattan location (save for a spot in NYU’s cafeteria) is officially open for business on October 3.
This is huge; Chick-fil-A is America’s most loved restaurant chain with a cult following in the South and Midwest.
We got a look at the restaurant before it officially opens, and one thing is clear: the food looks pretty tasty.
Welcome to Manhattan's first Chick-fil-A! It's in Manhattan's midtown district -- 6th Avenue and 37th Street. Definitely not a glamorous neighbourhood, but it certainly will get a lot of foot traffic from people who work nearby.
We were greeted by the chain's signature cow, who has been encouraging customers to 'eat mor chikin'' for years.
Chick-fil-A has been around for years. While mostly loved, the chain has had some trouble winning over liberally-minded people, given President Dan Cathy's homophobic comments. Cathy has since apologised to USA Today, but how quick are New Yorkers to forgive?
Chick-fil-A told Business Insider they operate on the principle of embracing everybody, which should likely appease the socially conscientious. But how does Chick-fil-A plan to satiate the time-starved, frustrated, often abrasive New Yorkers?
...With this brand new 'upstreaming' technology. This method of ordering was tested out in Chick-fil-A's Chicago unit. You order your food on a tablet while you wait in line. This is comparable to a drive-through -- since you can't have drive-throughs in Manhattan, and drive-throughs are responsible for lots of Chick-fil-A's orders. As for abrasive and wily customers, Chick-fil-A told Business Insider that employees have been trained how to deal with all sorts of customers. Not everyone wants to be waited on; some people are in a hurry.
Southern hospitality is the theme here, and Chick-fil-A maintains that hospitality is incredibly important to the chain. Everyone is super nice and friendly -- a welcome surprise in midtown Manhattan. Employees instructed us to pick up our food at a colour-coded register.
It looks like things will be moving rather swiftly -- there will definitely be tons of foot traffic, and that's something that Chick-fil-A wants.
A new item for the New York market is this breakfast sandwich -- a whole wheat English muffin filled with egg whites, grilled chicken, and cheese.
To prove just how fresh the food is, Chick-fil-A took us into its kitchen. Yes, everything is made fresh that day. We saw firsthand! Chick-fil-A also permits customers to take backstage tours; the chain maintains it has nothing to hide.
Even the lemonade is freshly squeezed. Chick-fil-A maintains that the recipe is just lemons, sugar (or Splenda if it's diet), and water. No prepackaged stuff.
The produce is local -- from New York and New Jersey -- and the wraps come from Damascus bakery in Brooklyn.
For those who can't live without Chick-fil-A, the company also offers catering, with items that can withstand colder temperatures -- like waffle chips, as an alternative to the famous waffle fries.
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