BUSINESS WATCH: Merritt Island’s First Stand-Alone Chick-fil-A Now Open For Business
By Space Coast Daily // August 23, 2018
100 Guests to Earn Free Year of Chick-fil-A Meals
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Chick-fil-A has opened a brand new location in Merritt Island and Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski and Gina Liberto were on hand to speak with owner Kersh Peterson, some of the employees and the excited customers.
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Merritt Island’s first stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant is now open, bringing its handcrafted food and award-winning customer service, commitment to community engagement and hands-on mentoring for 120 Team Members.
Local franchise owner and Operator Kersh Peterson invited residents to join in the opening festivities at his new restaurant at 785 E. Merritt Island Causeway by participating in a community celebration that has been a 14-year Chick-fil-A tradition.
Chick-fil-A’s First 100 event has given away more than $34 million through yearend 2017.
The family-friendly overnight First 100 Campout party included fun, engaging activities for all ages while enjoying Chick-fil-A meals throughout the countdown to the opening.
Up to 100 adults won a digital offer card with a year of free Chick-fil-A meals (52 meals with each consisting of a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries and a medium beverage).
As part of the celebration, Peterson hosted two youth-focused community service projects with the first being the opportunity to provide First 100 campers with the chance to assemble upwards of 700 meals for the Children’s Hunger Project. The organization identifies school children whose only constant meal of the day is at school and helps to fill their backpacks with additional food to take home.
The second opportunity is a children’s book drive benefitting Endeavour Elementary, with donations being collected during Grand Opening week. Peterson looks forward to using his new restaurant to expand his support of the community he has served for the past five years.
That service included supporting the Brevard Veterans Memorial where he has catered the Veteran’s Day program for the past four years. He also facilitates the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy program in local schools where students are taught leadership skills, given opportunities to serve others and learn how they can positively impact the world.
“I am excited to bring another Chick-fil-A to Merritt Island and continue to serve the community outside my restaurant,” said Peterson.
“Along with 60 of my mall employees, I will be adding and developing another 60 Team Members as together we continue to provide a remarkable experience to our guests who become part of our family.”
Peterson’s love of Chick-fil-A began in high school when he worked as a Team Member at his local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Columbia, S.C. After graduation, Peterson left the chicken business to attend Clemson University where he graduated in 2007 with a degree in industrial engineering and a minor in business administration.
He returned to Chick-fil-A to pursue his desire of becoming an Operator and fulfill his entrepreneurial goals, having admired the chain’s focus on serving freshly prepared food, providing genuine hospitality and positively impacting the community.
Peterson joined Chick-fil-A’s corporate leadership development program where he spent two years working as an interim manager, helping to run restaurants and help franchise owners open their own restaurants.
In 2013 with 13 years of Chick-fil-A experience, Peterson achieved his dream when he was awarded the Chick-fil-A at Merritt Island Mall.
Becoming a Chick-fil-A Operator is no small feat with the company receiving some 40,000 applications yearly for approximately 100 franchise opportunities.
Peterson and his wife, Sara, quickly fell in love with the island and its people and hoped to one day be given the opportunity to open the island’s first stand-alone. Now five years later, Peterson’s dream has once again been achieved when he was awarded the stand-alone location.
“It is my goal to have my new restaurant be a place where the community desires to come and where we make them feel at home,” says Peterson. “Where we lift their spirits as we provide them with excellence in service and food.”
Peterson’s nearly 5,000-square-foot restaurant has been designed to enhance all aspects of a guest’s experience from the drive-thru to the counter to in-restaurant dining. Highlights include a:
• Dining room that seats 112 with a vintage-inspired interior, including a large gathering table made from reclaimed wood, light fixtures from recycled Coca-Cola bottles and peach baskets, an interactive two-story, indoor play area, and outside seating for 18.
• Chick-fil-A app mobile ordering parking spot with designated inside pickup counter.
• Full-service menu with a variety of healthy and dietary options, including breakfast until 10:30 a.m. Open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily except Sundays.
• Two-lane drive-thru merging into a single pick-up point that can handle upwards of 200 cars an hour, along with a covered canopy for face-to-face ordering to enhance and further speed up the process.
The Merritt Island opening is one of potentially eight restaurants being built in the state out of the 129 slated to open nationwide. Florida’s first Chick-fil-A opened in 1974 in Orlando at Fashion Square Mall.
Additional information about the Chick-fil-A at Merritt Island can be found by visiting www.facebook.com/cfamerrittisland
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