Five months ago, every Southerner’s worst nightmare came true — a local Chick-fil-A restaurant that had stood in a community for 23 years was torn down and bulldozed.
Since then, hungry residents and workers in the south Forsyth area have had to look elsewhere for their chicken sandwich and waffle fry fix, watching day by day as their store was rebuilt.
But finally, that wait is over.
On Thursday, the Chick-fil-A at 3643 Peachtree Parkway at McGinnis Ferry Road opened the doors of a totally rebuilt and redesigned restaurant, offering the same food people know and love with a new personal touch and increased kitchen capacity to handle the community’s increasing chicken needs.
According to store co-owner Miriam Troutman, customers won’t notice the bulk of the new store’s renovations, which are behind the scenes. But what they hope people will notice are the small “homey” elements they call “community touches” which are scattered throughout the store, aimed at making an emotional connection with their guests.
When looking around the new restaurant it’s easy to see the connection that Miriam and her husband Steve Troutman are trying to make with customers. From the peach basket light fixtures and photos on the walls to the green glass Coke bottle accents, the new store is chock-full of Southern nostalgia.
“I think when Truett [Cathy] founded the company, he founded it with the community in mind,” Miriam Troutman said. “Truly, when you start having those touch points and those emotional connections, you really realize that it’s not about a chicken sandwich, it’s about what’s in the heart.”
What the Troutman’s say guests might also notice is an expedited and expanded drive through system being tested out at their location, which reportedly can handle as many at 35 vehicles at one time.
Steve Troutman said that the new system is like what many people have grown to see at other Chick-fil-A stores, with store employees taking orders outside via tablet computers.
But there will be additional human interaction at every step of the process at the Troutmans’ location, Steve Troutman said, from order-taking and payment to the “crossing guard” that will help the flow of cars in and out of the parking lot at peak times.
He said that these “touch points,” where people interact with a human being rather than a menu speaker or a person through a window, help bring people back to the restaurant.
“We always want to do things right,” Troutman said. “It’s first- and second-mile service — the first mile is getting your sandwich right, your fries salted and your Coke, the second mile is ‘What can we do to make it special? What else can we do for you?’”