Hundreds line up for chance at free Chick-fil-A food

Rachel O’Neal, left, and Erica Schmidt try to stay warm this morning while visiting with friends on the parking lot of the new Chick-Fil-A on Spout Springs Road. The group was part of the “First 100 Fans” promotion that included free meals for a year for the first 100 customers when the store opens Thursday morning.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Thursday, it’s a Chick-fil-A restaurant.

But today, it’s Chick-fil-A campground.

Braving bone-chilling temperatures this morning, dozens of people had set up tents across the parking lot of the Chick-fil-A off Spout Springs Road in anticipation of a year’s worth of coupons for free meals.

The restaurant opens at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, but employees will hand out the coupons starting at 6 a.m. to the first 100 people who show up at the door.

The “First 100 Fans” promotion began unassumingly in 2003, but to the surprise and delight of corporate officials, has turned into a major event with a faithful following.

Restaurant workers now begin registering people 24 hours before the giveaways and treat them to free food, movies, games and ice cream throughout the event.

Some people show up hours before registration starts, said Lauren Thigpen, a marketing official based at the chain’s Hamilton Mill Road store in Buford.

About 60 people were in line when she began signing in people at 6 this morning, she said.

One of those was Teresa Henderson of Buford.

No novice to the promotion, she had not only set up a tent, but she was sporting cow gear – a cowbell necklace and black and white spotted visor – in honor of the chain’s famous mascot.

“It’s not even about the coupons any more,” Henderson said as to why she attends the openings. “It’s the people.”

source: Gainsville Times

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