Chick-fil-A to Open 1st Mobile Pickup Restaurant March 21

Chick-fil-A to Open 1st Mobile Pickup Restaurant March 21

Manhattan Prototype Is Geared Exclusively for Mobile, Delivery and Takeout Orders

Chick-fil-A’s groundbreaking mobile pickup restaurant will open March 21 on New York City’s Upper East Side. It’s one of two experimental concepts the fast-food brand announced in 2023 and plans to open this year. 

Fast-food restaurants are increasingly catering to mobile customers. In 2021, revenue from restaurants’ digital orders increased by 17%, and comprises about 45% of orders at present. research predicts digital sales will reach 60% to 70% of all orders within the next couple of years. 

Chick-fil-A Mobile Pickup Restaurant

The Chick-fil-A mobile pickup restaurant, located where 79th Street intersects 2nd Avenue, has no seating for diners. However, it does have wide-open pathways for mobile orders and delivery drivers, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. Both paths have status-board screens so drivers and customers can monitor when food is ready for pickup, according to

In an email, Chick-fil-A’s senior principal design lead Nathaniel Cates told NRN that the “status boards will specify each order’s status as ‘preparing’ or ‘ready,’ prompting when the customer or delivery driver should come to the front to mitigate congestion” as well as expedite service. … Although this is a mobile- or delivery-focused experience, the restaurant’s layout ensures that our signature hospitality is at the forefront,” Cates added.

The restaurant will be alerted by geofencing when customers are on their way to streamline service and ensure that each meal is timed in concert with guests’ arrival, according to a report from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). 

So what if a customer didn’t order ahead? A QR code inside the eatery lets him or her place it online after arriving.

Breaking from Chick-fil-A Tradition

This Manhattan concept occupies about 3,500 square feet, NRN said, with most of the space dedicated to a regular-size kitchen and a staging zone. The front area is only about 400 square feet. This new layout is considerably smaller than current Chick-fil-As; the standard-model restaurants generally are 5,000 to 6,500 square feet. 

The NRN report also pointed out that the New York City concept restaurant will have around 40 employees (most in the kitchen, others at the counter), while a traditional-concept Chick-fil-A that just opened in Hawaii has roughly 140 workers. 

Why Start in NYC?

Cates is bullish on the new restaurant model and its Big Apple location. “We know our NYC customers have a strong appetite for convenience and fast service,” NRN quoted him as saying. New Yorkers exceed the national average for digital ordering; Manhattanites’ digital orders make up more than 50% of total sales.

The New York prototype restaurant’s owner-operator is Jared Caldwell, who also owns and runs a nearby Chick-fil-A at 3rd Avenue and 86th Street. “His selection to lead the new concept was a strategic decision to meet the growing demand for digital ordering and provide as many service options as possible to the on-the-go New York City customer base,” Cates told NRN.

Chick-fil-A Innovations

In addition to its mobile pickup restaurant, Chick-fil-A has been cooking up other innovations to make the customer experience better. Last year, the company announced an elevated drive-through restaurant concept and debuted dedicated drive-thru lanes for mobile orders at select locations.

Chick-fil-A has more than 3,000 restaurants in 48 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and Canada. In recent years, the franchise has launched approximately 100 units annually. In February of this year, Chick-fil-A made the Forbes second annual Customer Experience All-Stars list, the NACS article noted.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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