Chick-fil-A this month will debut the test of two units that focus on solely on catering, delivery and carryout, and one will forego counter-ordering entirely, the company said.
The Atlanta-based chicken sandwich brand will open the first units in Nashville, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky., the company said on its website. Both tests are intended to meet “a growing demand for food to go.”
“New test locations in Nashville and Louisville have no dining rooms but focus on catering and delivery,” the company said.
The new units will serve as hubs for catering and delivery, and the Nashville restaurant will be cashless, taking only credit and debit cards for payment even from walk-in customers.
Chick-fil-A has been working on the new units for a year, said Carrie Kurlander, Chick-fil-A’s vice president of external communications.
“We’ve been working on a new restaurant prototype that can better serve the emerging demand for delivery and simultaneously address the demand for catering orders,” Kurlander said.
They will focus “on preparing catering and delivery orders for Chick-fil-A restaurants in the area,” Kurlander said.
“One of the aspects that makes Nashville’s new restaurant unique is the lack of a dining room or drive-thru,” the company noted. “Roughly 4,200 square feet of the restaurant’s 5,800 square feet will be dedicated to kitchen space. That’s more than two times the size of a normal Chick-fil-A kitchen.”
Chick-fil-A said the Nashville location (pictured above) is on Church Street, just west of downtown.
“The new location has easy access to highways for deliveries to multiple destinations including downtown Nashville, local hospitals such as Nashville General and Saint Thomas, and college campuses like Vanderbilt University and Belmont University,” the company said.
The interior of the restaurant will accommodate counter service, but it will be cashless.
“The new location will only accept credit/debit, making the Chick-fil-A mobile app the easiest way to order,” the company said.
Nashville franchise operator Will Sims said, “Customers are relying more on mobile delivery, and this new location helps us provide that convenience.”
The company said the Louisville location will focus solely on catering and delivery orders and will not accommodate walk-up customers. That location covers about 4,800 square feet and is located in Louisville’s East End neighborhood.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to create a better experience for restaurant team members and customers alike,” said operator Bruce Smith, in comments on Chick-fil-A’s website. “Team members can stay focused on making sure every customer has the best possible experience at our restaurants. It’s never been easier for customers who are picking up their catering orders.”
In this year’s Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200, Chick-fil-A moved up a spot to No. 7 among brands ranked in U.S. systemwide sales, booking nearly $9 billion for the year ended December 2017, up from $7.9 billion in the preceding year.
Chick-fil-A ended 2017 with about 2,230 units.
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Update Oct. 10, 2018: This story has been updated with further comments from Chick-fil-A