Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A®, Inc. held the grand opening of its 2,000th restaurant, Chick-fil-A at White Oaks in Springfield, Ill., on Thursday, March 10. The restaurant in White Oaks is one of 95 new locations the restaurant company is opening this year. In 2016, Chick-fil-A will introduce restaurants for the first time in Nevada, Michigan and Oregon. A second location is slated to open in New York City near Rockefeller Center this April, and the company will also continue growing its footprint in various parts of the West, Midwest and Northeast.
Even with a relatively conservative growth model by QSR industry standards, Chick-fil-A has grown exponentially from the small diner opened in 1946 by Founder S. Truett Cathy in Hapeville, Ga., into one of the industry’s most acclaimed brands.
Chick-fil-A opened its first restaurant in Greenbriar Mall in 1967 and continued expansion with stand-alone, mall and licensed locations throughout the country. In 2011, when the first restaurants opened in Chicago and Los Angeles, the company began a shift toward more urban locations with many of its new locations taking a smaller footprint, focusing on drive-thru only or in-line service models. The majority of the chain’s 2,000 restaurants are locally owned and operated by an independent franchisee who oversees day-to-day activities at the restaurant and makes all employment and community involvement decisions.
Known for its freshly prepared food and award-winning customer service, Chick-fil-A’s menu options include its signature hand-breaded, boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich along with hand-chopped salads, fresh-squeezed lemonade and hand-spun milkshakes. Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy first served his boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich, pressured cooked and served on a buttered bun with two crucial pickles, at his Dwarf Grill restaurant that opened in 1946 in Hapeville, Ga. The sandwich was the signature menu item when the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in 1967 and continues to be the most popular menu item today.
With a long-standing tradition in the restaurant industry for setting the highest standards in customer service, Chick-fil-A ranked first for customer satisfaction in the Limited Service Restaurants Industry by the American Customer Satisfaction Index for 2015. The company has also earned recognition as one of America’s “Most Inspiring Companies” by Forbes Magazine, one of America’s “Top 20 Most Admired Brands” by The Harris Polland “Top Fast Food Chicken Chain” – for best chicken sandwich, customer service and cleanliness – by Consumer Reports, among other honors.