Appreciative of fast food experience
It's Wednesday, Aug. 1 and I just came back from eating at Chick fil-A at the Indian River Mall in Vero Beach. If anyone went to the mall not knowing it was Chick fil-A appreciation day, I'd bet they learned it in a hurry once they got inside!
The line for Chick fil-A stretched all the way across the long axis of the food court, then took a 90-degree turn and stretched almost the same distance down the long hallway of the mall.
Given the length of the line, the fact that the line averaged about three to four people wide at any given point, the number of people at the counter who were waiting on their order and the number of people with Chick-fil A bags on their tables, I'd estimate that there were about 400 to 500 people either waiting in line to order, waiting for food they'd already ordered or seated and eating Chick fil-A food, at any one time while I was there.
If the pace keeps up, the Chick-fil A in Vero Beach will have served, in my estimation, perhaps as many as 10,000 customers by the end of the day. Given the magnitude of the event, I was surprised that I could see no people from the media, not even the local media, while I was there.
I was waiting in line and for my food for a total of about one hour, but the service was as quick as could be, given the huge number of customers. And it was service with a smile. The restaurant had evidently prepared for a massive crowd. There were six or seven workers interfacing with customers, and presumably several more in the back preparing food. Chick fil-A did not run out of anything while I was there, either. When I had my order, I sat down to eat at a table near the service counter and not once did I hear a customer's order turned down due to lack of food or beverage.
I noticed a manager at the counter of another restaurant staring at the long line of people waiting for Chick fil-A food. Maybe he was wondering how he could get a similar enormous crowd of customers for his business!
The crowd, while animated, was entirely peaceful and polite. In fact, the customers near the service counter were helping the servers by repeating names of those who were being called to come get their order.
Speaking of customers, there were people from many walks of life - young, old, guys, ladies, black, white, Hispanic - all peacefully conversing with one another while waiting in line. A sampling of the people I met while in line; a retired Panamanian gentleman who had worked for the Panama Canal, his wife, an information technology manager, a networking engineer and a retired gentleman who had flown aircraft for a living.
A few days ago, I had heard that there might be some anti Chick fil-A protesters at the restaurant on Aug. 1. Given the violent acts of some gay rights protesters (one example: www.chaldean.org/NewsInformation/LawOrder/tabid/66/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/425/California-Chaldeans-Appalled-Over-Violent-Protests.aspx), I was concerned about the possibility of violence while patronizing the restaurant. Yet as far as I could tell, no one who opposed the restaurant's stand in favor of traditional marriage was there.
While in the food court, however, I heard a rumor that some anti Chick fil-A protesters were going to be there on Friday, Aug. 3.
Despite my concerns about possible violence, I am considering going back to the mall on Friday to peacefully eat another meal at Chick fil-A to show my support for the restaurant's positive stand in favor of traditional moral values. No one has the right to interfere with a business's normal operations because the CEO of that business voices an opinion they disagree with.
Peace to all who read this.
P.S. I do not work for Chick fil-A, nor do I have any business relations with the restaurant (outside of eating there, that is). Being that the restaurant is not a publicly traded company, I do not own any stock in Chick fil-A.
Peter Charette, Vero Beach