Chick-Fil-A will soon do the unthinkable: increase its restaurant count inside the perimeter (ITP). At the cusp of 1-285 on LaVista Road in Tucker, Chick-Fil-A will open on an outparcel at Northlake Festival that housed a Taco Bell for years, until its closure last January. Chick-Fil-A first proposed the restaurant to the Northlake community over the summer and later received approval. Demolition of the existing structure and parking lot began in earnest a few days ago. Also within Northlake Festival, not far from CFA, is a Jason's Deli and just south of the CFA, is a shuttered Fuddrucker's. It's possible the Fuddrucker's space will become more attractive to potential restaurateurs once the Chick-Fil-A opens May 12th.
Currently Chick-Fil-A has a location across the street in Northlake Mall but I would not be surprised to see it close in the wake of the FSU (Free Standing Unit) opening. (This is just a thought, and is not confirmed.) Not far away, CFA closed their location within the struggling North DeKalb Mall but left open its triple drive thru restaurant on North Druid Hills outside the mall. Having grown up in the area, I've personally witnessed the decline and deteriorating store counts at both North DeKalb and Northlake and feel this consolidation is a possibility given the greater traffic and appeal of the FSU.
At Gwinnett Place Mall, another struggling area mall in Duluth, Chick-Fil-A closed their location within the mall, keeping open their FSU location on Satellite Boulevard. While not exactly companion locations, given that the Satellite location is closer to Discover Mills (with no CFA) than to Gwinnett Place, I think it's safe to say that the location does get customers who formerly patronized GPM.
In Dunwoody, where Perimeter Mall is home to a Chick-Fil-A and has a companion location in Perimeter Pointe shopping center (both operated by operator Alex Rodriguez), Dunwoody homeowners have fought Chick-Fil-A's planned FSU at the intersection of Mount Vernon Highway and Dunwoody Club Drive. A post of mine on this issue received a number of comments, some shedding light on the fact that zoning or rezoning as the case may be can be a very tricky obstacle for restaurants to overcome. The fact that the land previously housed another fast food restaurant with a drive-thru surely helped the Northlake site progress. The Dunwoody site is home to a shuttered Blockbuster Video and CFA's planned drive-thru is one of the most significant sticking points for many opponents.
Having heard Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-Fil-A speak at a presentation in Buckhead last year, I was shocked to learn that out of the over 20,000 applications to operate a Chick-Fil-A that the company receives annually, only 50-70 make the cut. I like CFA a lot, but perhaps my chances of ever owning one are about as good as me winning the lottery.