Chick-fil-A is opening a new delivery-focused prototype

The fast-growing chicken chain is testing delivery and catering restaurants in Nashville and Louisville, Ky., this month.
Photograph courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is opening two new restaurants that don’t have something you commonly associate with the chain: seats.

Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain, is testing catering and delivery locations in Nashville and Louisville, Ky., that will open this month.

The locations, according to an announcement on the chain’s website, have no dining rooms or drive thrus and are designed to be hubs for catering and delivery orders. The restaurants will not accept cash, either.

That doesn’t mean these locations are small: Nashville’s 5,800-square-foot location is actually larger than a typical restaurant. But it features 4,200 square feet of kitchen space, more than twice the size of a normal Chick-fil-A kitchen.

The company said it chose the location, on Nashville’s Church Street, because it is in the center of the city and has access to highways “for deliveries to multiple destinations,” including downtown, local hospitals as well as nearby universities Vanderbilt and Belmont.

The Nashville location will feature a walk-up counter in the restaurant, but customers will only be able to use credit or debit cards. The location will feature Chick-fil-A’s full menu.

“Customers are relying more on mobile delivery,” Will Sims, the franchise operator in Nashville, said in the announcement. “And this new location helps us provide that convenience.”

The restaurant in Louisville is expected to open in mid-October. It will be similar to the Nashville restaurant but will not have any walk-up ordering. The restaurant will be 4,800 square feet.

Customers can order delivery from the locations through DoorDash. They can also place orders to be picked up through the company’s mobile app.

Delivery is a major industry trend, with chains increasingly using third-party services to bring food directly to customers’ homes.

More chains, including Outback Steakhouse and Famous Dave’s, have been testing or planning delivery focused units in a bid to take full advantage of the trend.

For Chick-fil-A, the prototype keeps it on top of a trend even though the chain does quite well as it is: It operates well over 2,000 locations and saw it system sales surge by 14% last year, according to data from Technomic.

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