Local franchise owner Heath Kyle, one of five operators in his family, opened Chattanooga’s newest Chick-fil-A restaurant on Wednesday, and is celebrating with a special grand opening Road Trip. The interactive field trip will transport up to 100 participants around the Chattanooga area in order to earn a year supply of Chick-fil-A meals.
Over 60 Chick-fil-A fans lined up before the 6 a.m. mark at the new East Ridge Chick-fil-A at 639 Camp Jordan Pkwy to secure their seat on the unique First 100 Road Trip Experience. Guests started arriving around 3 a.m. to secure their spot on the bus.
The community celebration of the new location at 639 Camp Jordan Pkwy., will bring 90 new jobs to the area along with the brand’s trademark handcrafted food and personalized customer service. Kyle continues to build his East Ridge staff by hiring full- and part-time positions to work in all areas of the restaurant, including leadership positions focused on talent, training and administrative support. Interested applicants can apply at www.cfaeastridgejobs.com.
Chick-fil-A’s First 100 campouts have given away more than $34 million in free food through 2017 and continue to be the chain’s signature event to celebrate the opening of a new location. However, this Chick-fil-A grand opening celebration will not involve any overnight activities. Instead, up to 100 eligible participants, 18 years and older, can start gathering shortly before 6 a.m. on May 16 to register and immediately participate in a unique grand opening event.
Designed to be an impactful experience on many levels, the First 100 Road Trip will take participants around the Chattanooga area on a chartered bus while spending approximately six hours being engaged in activities to serve their community and give back to local organizations. The group will return to the new East Ridge restaurant where participants will be awarded a digital offer card loaded with a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals (52 meals with each consisting of a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries and a medium beverage).
Mr. Kyle will also be using his opening to have an immediate impact on the local community by holding a children’s book drive with books being donated to East Ridge Elementary. He will be collecting new and gently used children’s books on Monday through Thursday morning of grand opening week to be placed in a nearly 3-foot Book House, built from reclaimed wood. Since 2014, Chick-fil-A has collected more than 66,000 books that have been donated to 363 local organizations in 45 states and Washington, D.C.
Becoming an operator seemed like the perfect fit for Mr. Kyle who has been surrounded by the Chick-fil-A brand most of his adult life. A graduate from Tennessee Temple University with a degree in business management, he has always had the desire and passion to start his own business.
Chick-fil-A’s program of working for yourself, but not by yourself appealed to Mr. Kyle’s entrepreneur side, and in 1999 he went to work for the franchise. It took four years of hard work, but in 2004 he was awarded with the Pell City, Ala. location. His dedication to the brand is evident by him receiving the opportunity to open the new East Ridge Chick-fil-A in Chattanooga, which allows him to be closer to his wife’s family who lives in the area.
Becoming an operator has truly become a Kyle family affair. While Mr. Kyle was in college, his mother, Freda, became a Chick-fil-A Operator in Mississippi and will celebrate her 20th anniversary this year in October. In addition, his siblings, Luke, Matthew and Heather, have also become operators – with 70 years of Chick-fil-A experience between the five of them.
“My team members and I can’t wait to welcome guests to our East Ridge restaurant, we’re not just in the chicken business — we’re in the people business” said Mr. Kyle. “I will continue to grow my team members in leadership and purpose so they can provide customers with a remarkable experience by serving freshly prepared food, with healthy options, and with sincere hospitality.”
Mr. Kyle will bring three team members he hired in Pell City and mentored over the years to fill leadership roles at East Ridge and hopes to continue his legacy of developing and providing growth for his staff.
The nearly 5,000-square-foot Hwy. East Ridge Chick-fil-A restaurant features a:
· traditional heritage restaurant interior design that showcases handmade, authentic materials for a vintage-inspired interior, including a large gathering table made from reclaimed wood and a light fixture made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles.
· drive-thru with dual ordering lanes and screens to enable customers to move quickly into a single lane for payment and pickup
· convenient separate entrance and inside pick-up counter designated for Chick-fil-A One mobile orders and a dining room with seating for 122 with additional outdoor patio seating for 18.
· full-service menu with a variety of healthy options and breakfast until 10:30 a.m., and will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Like all Chick-fil-A locations, it will be closed on Sunday to provide a day of rest and time with family and friends for team members.
Chick-fil-A opened Tennessee’s first location nearly 40 years ago in September 1978 inside Hickory Hollow Mall. East Ridge grand opening marks the 82nd location in Tennessee and is part of the 129 new Chick-fil-A locations opening this year across the country, creating more than12,000 new jobs. For more information on the East Ridge Chick-fil-A restaurant, visit Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CFAEastRidge/.