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Chick-fil-A to open store in Cape Coral

By Staff | May 7, 2009

For all the chicken lovers living in Cape Coral, their wildest dreams are about to come true.
On Thursday, the Cape will get its first Chick-fil-A, and along with it all the pomp and circumstance that generally comes with the opening of these fan favorite restaurants.
Like all Chick-fil-A openings, people will start to line up outside the store days in advance, hoping to be one of the lucky first 100 customers who receive free food every week for a year.
The “First 100,” as its come to be known, has turned into the de facto event for Chick-fil-A groupies, with foul fans often traveling hundreds of miles to attend a store’s opening.
“They make it like a celebration, an old-fashioned barn-raising,” said Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Cindi Pickett. “People are passionate about Chick-fil-A and about getting together with other people who are just as passionate … they’re just eating and celebrating.”
The new store’s owner, Michael Burgess, comes to the Cape from Fayetteville, Ga.
Pickett stated that all Chick-fil-A owners/operators are required to be hands-on, ensuring they are highly vested in the community. As the “face of Chick-fil-A,” the operators must make the store, and the community, part of their lives.
Burgess said he has started the process by reaching out to Cape schools.
“We’ve contacted every local school, introduced ourselves and let them know we want to be a partner in eduction,” he said.
The new store provides 64 new jobs in the Cape. The jobs are split between full-time and part-time positions.
Burgess said he was “very strategic” in his hiring process, visiting churches and schools in an attempt to find employees who are positive, responsible and willing to create the ultimate Chick-fil-A experience.
That experience officially starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, as the restaurant will give away 3,000 free sandwiches in the parking lot behind the new store.
Then comes the true Chick-fil-A believers, the ones who camp out days ahead of the opening in hopes of being one of the First 100.
Neither Pickett nor Burgess knows when they will start to line up, but they cannot wait to see them out there.
“They’re a great asset to our company,” he said. “It creates a hype about the opening and has really taken on a life of its own over the years. It’s very unique.”