Bradenton’s second stand-alone Chick-fil-A® restaurant will open Aug. 1, bringing more than 75 new jobs and the chance for 100 adults to win free Chick-fil-A meals for a year as the chain reaches the 10th anniversary of its signature grand opening celebration.
Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” event, which began as a way to celebrate the first stand-alone Chick-fil-A in Arizona in 2003, immediately became the cornerstone of every Chick-fil-A grand opening when the first person arrived more than 18 hours the day before, wondering where to get in line. Others soon followed and by the time the restaurant opened for business the next day, more than 100 were waiting.
Humbled and surprised by the dedication of its fans, Chick-fil-A quickly implemented the “First 100” at every grand opening and in the past 10 years has given away more than $18 million in free food at almost 700 grand openings. An additional $2.5 million is slated to be given away at 91 grand openings this year.
The new Bradenton restaurant at 4573 14th St. W. will be the scene of the latest Chick-fil-A grand opening celebration. The first 100 adults, ages 18 and older with identification, in line when the doors open about 6 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, each will win a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A® Meals (52 coupons with each consisting of a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries™ and a medium drink) – a total of more than $30,000 in free food. The line officially opens at 6 a.m., Wednesday, July 31, with the free meal cards being awarded Thursday, Aug. 1, about 6 a.m. The restaurant will open for business immediately thereafter. If there are more than 100 people by 6 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31, all 100 spots will be determined by a drawing held that morning with those selected needing to camp out to secure their spot. For complete rules, see Chick-fil-A First 100 Promotion.
With 20 years of Chick-fil-A experience, Nathan Hoeksema, who was born at Manatee Memorial Hospital and graduated from Bradenton Christian School, has been selected as franchise Operator of the new Chick-fil-A restaurant. He transferred from the Desoto Square Mall restaurant which he operated since May 2002. Interesting enough, that is where he began working his first job in 1993 during his high school sophomore year along the side with his three siblings. Hoeksema, who earned one of the chain’s Leadership Scholarships, graduated from Manatee Community College which was renamed State College of Florida. Since being an Operator, he has awarded the same Leadership Scholarship to 11 of his team members. Among his many Chick-fil-A awards and recognitions, Hoeksema earned the chain’s highest award – Symbol of Success – in both 2010 and 2011. He and his wife Cynthia, a graduate of Manatee High School, have two children.
“Our focus on freshly prepared food and personal customer service is as central to our new restaurant as it was the day Truett opened his first Chick-fil-A location,” said Hoeksema. “That commitment continues for me and my team members at our new Bradenton location where we can’t wait to continue welcoming and serving our guests in the community.”
The new restaurant seats 106 with additional outdoor seating and has warm colors and wood accents and an interactive play area for children. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving a full breakfast menu until 10:30 a.m.