Alan Kizer, owner and operator of Chick-fil-A of Conway Commons, is preparing to open his second location at 2510 Prince Street.
Kizer said it was obvious with a full parking lot and crowded drive-thru; the people of Conway needed more access to Chick-fil-A.
Kizer also liked the idea of building a location near a residential area, he said. The mission statement for the new restaurant is “Bring Chick-fil-A closer to your home.”
When the opportunity to locate in front of Walmart Neighborhood Market presented itself, Kizer said, the Chick-fil-A real estate department decided to purchase the outparcel.
In June of 2012, when the Conway City Council approved zoning for Neighborhood Walmart, they simultaneously zoned the outparcel in front of the grocery store as Commercial-2 solely for a proposed Chick-fil-A.
According to Faulkner County property assessor records, Walmart sold its outparcel to Chick-fil-A Inc. for $726,000 at the first of the year, breaking ground soon thereafter.
The new location will have a dual drive-thru ordering point designed to expedite the drive-thru process with a single lane that splits into two ordering stations and reconnects to continue to the drive-thru window.
Sarah Duggan, lead director for the new Prince Street location, said the new advanced kitchen will enable the staff to produce meals at a quicker pace and work more efficiently.
Located next to Tucker Creek Walking/Biking Trailhead, the Prince Street location will have a patio area with more outdoor seating than what is available at Chick-fil-A of Conway Commons, Kizer said.
The indoor play area will feature an interactive section for toddlers, and the Prince Street Chick-fil-A will create 60 new jobs in the community, Kizer said.
Kizer is tentatively planning a grand opening on July 17, but if it continues to rain, he said, the grand opening could be delayed to the following Thursday, July 24.
Chick-fil-A will celebrate the grand opening of the new restaurant by giving away a free Chick-fil-A meal per week for one year — a total of 52 meals — to the first 100 adults in line on opening day.
The “First 100” celebration draws Chick-fil-A raving fans up to 24 hours in advance, Kizer said, with registration beginning on Wednesday.
They arrive with tents, airbeds, TVs, laptops, gaming systems and other activities to pass the time while they camp out overnight, he said.
Since the event began in October 2003, Chick-fil-A has given away more than $20 million in free food.
For the past three years, Chick-fil-A of Conway Commons has been the highest grossing restaurant in Conway based on annual restaurant sales.
According to Pulse of Conway data, Chick-fil-A of Conway Commons made nearly $4.5 million in 2013. The restaurant is on track to remain in the number one spot with nearly $1.1 million as of March, Pulse of Conway says.
The data measures strictly food sales, Kizer said. Alcoholic beverage sales are not included. “If they were,” he said, “I’m not sure if we would still be number one.”
Tiffany Bonds, area director and general manager of Chick-fil-A of Conway Commons, said she personally feels Chick-fil-A has been so successful in Conway because the staff gets to now their customers on a first hand basis.
Duggan said Chick-fil-A’s corporate goal is to make a positive influence.
“We make a positive influence by reaching out to the community,” she said.
Chick-fil-A of Conway Commons “reaches out to the community” by hosting events for families such as Superheroes Night and Prince and Princess Night.
The restaurant also hosts Spirit Night to raise money for various organizations throughout the community. Similar events will be hosted at the new restaurant.
“The City of Conway has supported the Commons so well,” Kizer said, and it will be difficult to make the second location as successful as the first, he said.
“It took us ten years to get Commons to the level it is today,” Kizer said.
Kizer said he anticipates the new location to have some impact on the Conway Commons location, but is putting a plan in place to minimize any adverse affect, “whatever it may be,” he said.
If it had not been for Conway’s overwhelming support, Kizer said, Chick-fil-A would not have the ability to open a second location.
“There aren’t a lot of towns of 60,000 that have two Chick-fil-As,” Kizer said. “That just doesn’t happen.”