Chick-fil-A Opens in New York City

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Chick-fil-A is supposed to be a regional restaurant. Not so, based on a recent more. The fast-food chain has entered New York City. Perhaps it is a sign the chain wants to be a national one like McDonald’s.

According to Chick-fil-A:

New York City is not for the faint of heart. That goes for native New Yorkers, transplants and businesses alike. And for a business looking to create a footprint in New York City for the first time, the list of considerations, obstacles and questions can be seemingly endless.

Chick-fil-A began preparations for entering the Big Apple years ago. And now, the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in New York City – located in the Garment District at the corner of West 37th Street and 6th Avenue– will finally open on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Of course, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) has over 35,000 stores worldwide, and its recent numbers would indicate it has too many locations, including dozens in New York City. Chick-fil-A might rather it remained regional.

The chain has done its research, but on a very modest level:

After conducting small focus groups in New York City, research revealed that every element of the restaurant — from the aesthetics to customer service – would need to adapt to serve New Yorkers’ unique needs.

“This research at the beginning was key,” says Jessica Fort, Chick-fil-A urban strategy coordinator. “We interviewed six small groups in New York City, which helped lead us in the right direction and stay on task.”

New York residents played a huge part in planning for this restaurant. After focus group participants shared that they were tired of interior design with only white subway tiles and preferred more wood and natural tones instead, Chick-fil-A designers incorporated those textures. A quick and accurate ordering experience was also a must-have for New Yorkers, and the restaurant team will address that.

“There are so many places to eat in New York City, and we want to make Chick-fil-A one of the top options,” Fort says. “To do that, we are going to be as efficient as possible to best serve our guests.”

A few focus groups is a small foundation for a decision to enter America’s largest city.

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