Provo’s new Chick-fil-A restaurant opened its doors Thursday morning, prompting at least 100 Utah residents to pitch their tents and spend the night on the snowy sidewalk.
The new restaurant, located on Bulldog and State, rewarded each of the first hundred customers in line a year’s supply of Chick-fil-A as part of its grand opening “First 100” event.
Contestants began arriving at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, despite the below-freezing temperature and the steady snow falling from the sky.
Owner and operator Terry Crook said they had 175 people there by the time the contest started at 6 a.m. “You can do the math; a lot of people were turned away. We had a drawing to select the 100 adults over 18, and they’ve been partying ever since!”
Tents flocked the parking lot, complete with sleeping bags, heaters, camping stoves and one with a few sets of bunk beds. The contestants were required to camp out in line for a full 24 hours in order to receive the prize or risk losing their spot to another avid chicken-lover.
For Daniel Leafty, 61, from Salt Lake City, this isn’t his first time participating in Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” event, which has been going on since 2003.
“This is my fifth one I’ve done so far,” he said, his head clad in a fluffy black-and-white spotted cow hat. “I did it in American Fork, Sugar House, Murray and St. George.”
He said he eats at Chick-fil-A once or twice a week at home and came because he loves the food.
But for others, it was just the experience that drew them in.
“I’ve always seen people do it, and I’ve never done it, so I figured I might as well do it now,” said Mitch Fultz, a junior from Westminster, Md., studying finance.
He plans to give away lots of his free coupons to his friends and use some himself to save money.
“I don’t eat fast food that often, but when I do I usually go to Chick-fil-A or Five Guys or something like that,” he said.
The contestants kept themselves busy with activities throughout the day, including a cow snowman-building contest with a prize given for the best one. In addition, the new restaurant partnered with Community Action Services and Food Bank to host a one-day food drive, rewarding all who donated five or more food items with a coupon for a free sandwich.
According to the press release, the new restaurant will be open Monday–Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., catering to both the early-riser and late-snacker. True to the name, the menu consists of mostly chicken-based items, such as sandwiches and salads, with side options ranging from fries to fruit and multiple breakfast items.
The opening of the restaurant brought 73 jobs to Provo, all of which have already been filled. “It’s probably an even mix, college students, high school students, and others,” Crook said with regard to his new employees.
This will be Provo’s first standalone Chick-fil-A restaurant, coupling the existing location in the Cougareat.
Crook said the campus location is doing very well; he hopes this is a harbinger of success for the new location. “There’s been a lot of pent-up anticipation for a free-standing restaurant in Provo. People are excited! We hope it’s a tremendous response,” he said.