Chick-fil-A fans have waited three long months for the reopening of the Magnolia Avenue restaurant. The wait was finally over Monday as the fast food chain’s Magnolia Avenue location hosted a reopening event.
The restaurant was open briefly in the afternoon to offer free chicken sandwiches and chances to win coupons for free food to redeem once the restaurant reopens Tuesday.
“We miss the customers just as much as they missed us,” said Bob McFadden, restaurant operator. “It's just kind of a ‘thank you for your patience and allowing us to be closed.’”
The drive-thru line was several cars deep on Magnolia Avenue while a mob of customers waited near the counter for their name to be called for their order.
Chick-fil-A employees circled the restaurant offering condiments and drink refills to customers. Of course, every interaction ended with a signature Chick-fil-A “my pleasure.”
“We got a lot of new team members so it’s kind of a training day,” McFadden said. “This gives us a good idea, this is similar to a game day, so it lets us run all of our machines at one time and give us a good test.”
The Magnolia Avenue location has been closed for three months for renovations, McFadden said.
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While customers may notice a few changes in the dining area, the real renovations were in the kitchen.
The renovations were needed because the Magnolia Avenue restaurant was not initially built to be occupied by Chick-fil-A. During the last months’ renovations the kitchen was renovated to add a walk-in freezer and cooler.
“We had to jackhammer up the whole back to line in the plumbing,” McFadden said. “We had to rewire the whole store and put up the new HVAC unit.”
The restaurant now has all new LED lighting throughout, including in the dining area. Automated trash cans and new registers were also added.
There are also new photos hanging throughout the dining area of the infamous cow mascot in front of different iconic Auburn locations such as Samford Hall and the Auburn University sign.
During the renovations, both the building and the time frame of the renovations were lengthened.
“We actually pushed the back of the store back 12 feet so it’s closer to that speaker box [at the drive-thru] without losing any parking spaces,” McFadden said. “So trying to figure all that out is what took us so long.”
The Chick-fil-A Magnolia team is excited to get back to work after the three-month break, McFadden said.
“There’s a lot of faces that I got to see today of some of our guests,” McFadden said. “Catching up on what they did this summer is what we’re looking forward to.”
Chick-fil-A staffers aren’t the only ones excited for the reopening of the chain’s Magnolia Avenue location.
Community members, including many Auburn students, packed the restaurant after learning about the opening event on social media.
“It’s free Chick-fil-A,” said attendee Joshua Ellis. “Who wouldn’t want to come?”
Some attendees were so excited for the reopening they left their jobs to come check out the renovated restaurant and also score some free chicken.
“I was reading about how Chick-fil-A was reopening,” said attendee Racheal Varies. “Then my co-workers left to go to the Chick-fil-A reopening and I was sitting there at work just waiting for them to come back.”
Varies decided she couldn’t wait for them to come back so she joined her coworkers at the Magnolia restaurant, with her boss’s permission.
“I’m excited about it reopening,” Varies said. “I really love Chick-fil-A.”
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