When Madison’s only Chick-fil-A location announced mid-August that they’ll be moving to a brand new location in 2021, the community was abuzz. After nearly 22 years at its current location on HWY 72 across from Lowe’s, Chick-fil-A will reopen just one mile west in its new building in the Clift Farm development.
Restaurant Operator Norman Dull shared that construction on the new building is slated to begin ahead of schedule in January 2021 and that customers can expect to be enjoying the new facility by early June.
What Improvements Will Be Made
When asked what similarities and differences the current and new buildings will have, Dull smirked and said that “besides decor, there will be very few similarities.”
For starters, the new Chick-fil-A in Madison, Alabama building will be larger and much easier to navigate from the inside out. The new building will be 5,200 square feet, up nearly 50% from the current building’s 3,000 square feet. The new parking lot will comfortably fit 68 vehicles, while the current lot only fits 42.
Finally, the double drive-thru lanes will accommodate up to 42 vehicles, more than twice as much as their current drive-thru lane capacity.
Not only will the new building allow for a safer, more pleasant experience for guests (both in parking, their abilities to find a table, etc.), but more space will also mean a better work environment for Dull’s team of employees.
“Our current kitchen is way too small,” remarked Dull. He continued to say that the kitchen is putting out nearly 8x the amount of product that was sold during their first year in 1999.
During our time together chatting about the new Chick-fil-A location, it was evident that Dull cares tremendously about his team and very much looks forward to a more comfortable environment for them to work in.
Dull understands how frustrating the traffic situation at their current location tends to be but says that guests can look forward to a traffic-flow system that will be much safer and easier to navigate at the new location.
The new building will sit on an angle on the edge of the property in front of Publix. When one pulls into the main Clift Farm entrance in front of Publix, Chick-fil-A will be on the immediate right.
One of the best design aspects of the new location is that guests who choose to dine-in will have a straight shot to walk into the building instead of having to walk through the cars in the drive-thru lanes.
The new location will feature a double drive-thru lane that guests will enter from a road inside of Clift Farm. Dull doesn’t anticipate much overflow out of the parking lot thanks to the size of their property, but if they do have an overflow, it will not affect heavy traffic anywhere near HWY 72.
As seen below, drive-thru guests will enter near the upper right-hand corner of the map and follow the arrow left. They will then circle down and around and exit out the same area that they entered.
Portions of the drive-thru lanes will feature covered canopies in the ordering area, much better lighting, gas heaters, and fans that will offer a great work experience for his team and ordering experience for guests.
The food pick-up area in the drive-thru will feature a set of double doors that will allow team members to walk right out and hand guests their food.
“To be able to do better in our new facility means that we can do more fun things, we can hire more people, and we can serve our great community better.”
What to Expect until Then
Dull shared that despite six months of a closed dining room, business has remained strong.
He isn’t sure how long the dining room will remain closed, but for now, he encourages guests to continue making use of their 12 mobile order parking spots near the pick-up side of the drive-thru.
“Most of the business that we used to have in our dining room has now converted into mobile orders. Our third-party delivery services have exploded as well.”
[Author note]: The Chick-fil-A app is life-changing. 😉 Our family uses it every single time we go, even (especially!) when we travel. We find the nearest location, I poll my family for their orders, and then it’s brought right out. We often receive free items as well thanks to their points system.
The History of Chick-fil-A in Madison, Alabama
Norman Dull has been the store operator since the restaurant opened in November 1999.
“The store is doing twice as much business as it was ever designed to do, so yeah, I’d say we’ve grown!”
While Dull looked into expanding the building in their current location, it never quite worked out.
He says that his team has endured a lot of “craziness” over the years and that they do a lot and do it well. He shared that he’s had thousands of team members come and go over the years. His leadership team still features some of the team members that he hired 18 years ago, which he is grateful for.
What will happen to the old building?
Dull believes that the old building will likely be torn down (for branding purposes) and that the land will be sold to another business. (Talk about a prime spot for another business!)
What About Madison Taxes?
While Clift Farm has a Madison address, the development is not inside the city limits.
(P.S. Check out this article about city planning in Madison, Alabama. It’ll clarify some things, especially about Clift Farm.)
I asked Dull about his reaction to the criticism of the new location regarding the loss of tax revenue for Madison.
“There is a chance we will be annexed into Madison in the future,” he says. “But even if it isn’t, we are still going to contribute to our community by serving them.”
Dull says that regardless of where the restaurant sits, his restaurant will still continue to do “a ton of different things with Madison schools, charities, the Chamber of Commerce” and more.
With a smile, Dull says that he “is so grateful for how our community has continued to support us, and I will always support them.”
Will there be another Chick-fil-A in Madison, Alabama?
The age-old question that everybody wants to know: Will we ever see another Chick-fil-A location?
The answer: more than likely, and maybe even two more!
“Chick-fil-A corporate has the final say about where additional locations go, but yes, there have been ongoing conversations for a while about new locations in Madison.”
Though new locations could be years down the road, Dull shared that a location within Town Madison is one possibility with County Line Road being another.
Of course, there are no plans for either of these potential future locations, but corporate is aware that our community is highly interested in additional locations.