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Popular Chick-fil-A store closing

Renovations will enlarge kitchen, expand drive-through

POSTED: February 3, 2014 12:04 a.m.
Crystal Ledford/

Aaron Schwaeber, an employee of Chick-fil-A on Peachtree Parkway at The Collection, fills a customer’s drink order. The eatery will be closed from Feb. 7 to March 10 for renovations.

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SOUTH FORSYTH — South Forsyth residents with a hankering for Chick-fil-A will have to find other options for a few weeks.

The franchise location at The Collection on Peachtree Parkway will be shuttered for about a month beginning next week, said owner and operator Gene Reeves.

“We’re going to close on Feb. 7 and we’re going to close for about four weeks,” he said. “Our potential reopening date will be on March 10.”

The closure is due to an expansion and renovation of the restaurant’s kitchen and the addition of a double drive-through.

Reeves said the kitchen project will create a new prototype model that Chick-fil-A is installing in restaurants with high-volume sales.

“It’s called center line and it really basically doubles our capability, our capacity,” he said. “So we’re going to tear out our current kitchen, all the way from the front counter back because it will affect our service area up here.”

According to Reeves, the south Forsyth franchise is the perfect site for the new style kitchen since it has the highest sales of any Chick-fil-A restaurant in Georgia.

“We want to keep that and we’re going to keep that by just continuing to give good service and taking care of our customers and making them feel at home,” he said.

For the past four weeks, Reeves said construction crews with RCD General Contractors have been working outside at the rear of the existing kitchen to create the expansion, which will add about 1,000 square feet to the 4,500-square-foot restaurant.

“They’re on time with everything,” Reeves said. “We’ll close down and then they’ll work inside. They’ve got to move quite a bit of electrical, plumbing, a lot of infrastructure.”

As for the restaurant’s 75 full- and part-time employees, Reeves said they will get a nice vacation.

“Of course, they won’t work during that time [of closure], but they will be paid,” he said. “It’ll give them some rest time to be with their families and … they’ll only be out about three weeks because one of those four weeks they’ll … put the store back together.”

The management team will work throughout the closure to learn how to operate the new center line kitchen.

“We’ve got some trips planned for our management team,” Reeves said, noting that the new model will basically create a double kitchen.

“We’ll have two production lines in the kitchen instead of just one.”

The addition also includes an expansion of the restaurant’s drive-through.

“That’s not really a complicated process,” Reeves said. “We’ll just have to configure our lanes coming into the store, so we’ll go from one lane to two lanes and then back to one lane, and we’ll put in two order stations.

“That will only take about four days to complete.”

The store will maintain all of its parking, but will lose some of its outside patio area and landscaping.

Reeves said that a few customers have been disappointed about the month-long hiatus, but for the most part they’ve been understanding and supportive.

“We have a very intelligent customer base here and they’ve dealt with growth and change all their lives here in Forsyth County, so I think they’re very adaptable so they seem OK with it,” he said, noting that signs have been placed around the store for a few weeks letting customers know of the closure.

“The fact that we’re pre-communicating it has helped because most people are OK as long as they’re not surprised.”

This will be the second renovation to the location since it opened in May 2008.

The first occurred about four months ago, Reeves said, when the lobby area was updated and additional seating installed.

“We’re just very grateful to be in a great community,” he said. “We’ve got a good relationship and they understand the need for change and I think they’ll be pleased when we get back.”

 

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