ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The Chick-fil-A at Avalon is open and ready to welcome customers in what will to be a unique experience.
“The design of the building is completely different than any other Chick-Fil-A you will see,” said franchise owner John Crays. “It’s a one-of-a-kind custom design.”
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant boasts a two-story indoor play area, 140 indoor seats and 20 outdoor seats. Inside, nine peach-basket lights hang from the ceiling to give the area a rustic feel.
Customers can also find a large gathering table in the dining area that is made from reclaimed wood and subway tiles. Above it hangs a light fixture created from recycled Coca-Cola bottles made by local artist Kathleen Plate.
One of the features that makes this Chick-Fil-A unique is the drive-thru, which has two lanes and can fit 33 cars at a time.
The developer of Avalon purposely sought out Chick-Fil-A to have one of the restaurants built on the property.
“One of the concepts they were very interested in being a part of the Avalon brand was Chick-Fil-A,” Crays said. “That’s how it all got started.”
To celebrate the opening, the Chick-Fil-A held a “First 100 Pay-it-Forward” promotion in the days before the official launch. A kiosk was set up in different locations at Avalon that dispensed tickets for free meals, but some tickets had a sticker on them promising that the holder would “be surprised” if they gave it away within a minute.
Those who gave there prize away, as the sticker said, were given free Chick-Fil-A for a year by a disguised employee waiting nearby.
“It’s all about promoting generosity,” Crays said.
John and his wife Cristina Crays previously worked at a Chick-fil-A in downtown Decatur. John had been working at Chick-fil-A since he was in high school – 6 years as a team member and 15 as an owner. However with the new Chick-fil-A at Avalon announced, the two decided to move to the Alpharetta location to connect more with the community in which they live.
Alpharetta is “where we do life,” restaurant Marketing Director Cristina said. “We see people every single day that we know from the community.”
Many of these community members now work for the duo at the new Chick-Fil-A
“It’s a unique situation,” John said. “It’s very rare that we walk out into the dining room, and we can’t find somebody we don’t know.”
The restaurant has brought 100 new jobs to the area. John said that the reason for the high number is because of the restaurant employs a large number of local students, all hand-picked by John and Cristina.
“Because they’re really good high school students, they don’t want to work five nights a week,” John said. “They can work a couple nights a week instead and still have time to study or go to prom.”
These alternating schedules more than double the amount of employees needed to run the restaurant. But John said it has been great working with every one of them.
“Our vision is ‘to deliver a remarkable experience executed by a remarkable team,’” John said. “And we have an incredible team.”
The Chick-fil-A already has plans to get involved with the community with themed nights and has started partnering with several local schools to arrange fundraising nights. They recently signed on with their first schools, Alpharetta Elementary and the Lionheart School.
“Almost everything we do is centered around families,” John said. “For us, that’s our passion.”