Chick-fil-A Will Open a ‘Digital Only’ Restaurant

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 25, 2024

With many sit-down restaurants becoming obsolete and customers preferring to order fast-food deliveries, Chick-fil-A has developed an alternative. 

Chick-fil-A has started plans for a digital-only restaurant, which they believe will be a hit with fast-food lovers.

Chick-fil-A’s First Digital-Only Restaurant Will Open in New York City

Chick-fil-A is set to open its first digital-only restaurant in New York City, a city famous for the hustle and bustle of life. 

New York City at sunset. The Empire State Building is in the center of the image and there are various other high-rise buildings surrounding it.

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According to Nation’s Restaurant News, it will be located on the Upper East Side of New York City and will open on March 21, 2024


A Restaurant with No Seating Area

Most restaurants tend to have at least some sort of seating area, even if it is very limited, but Chick-fil-A has taken a different approach.

The inside of a Chick-fil-A. People are queuing up to order and employees are either serving behind the counter or preparing the food.

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As the restaurant is digital only, customers and delivery drivers will only be able to go to the restaurant to pick up their order and take it anywhere they wish to eat it. 

Chick-fil-A’s Digital Restaurant Will Have Clear Pathways

To try to limit the need for queues, Chick-fil-A’s digital restaurant will have clear lines for customers and delivery drivers.

The outside of a Chick-fil-A restaurant.

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Each path will contain a status board that will state whether an order is being prepared or is ready to be picked up. When a customer’s order is ready, they will be able to go to the front of the queue, and this should prevent the congestion that many fast-food restaurants face. 

The Digital-Only Restaurant Due to Mobile and Delivery Orders Increasing

Chick-fil-A will open the first digital-only restaurant due to the increase in mobile and food delivery orders all over the world.

A person on their laptop on the Uber Eats website. The text on the screen reads “Discover restaurants that deliver near you.”

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In 2022, the U.S. made $17.1 billion from food delivery revenue, and the food app industry is set to make $165 billion by 2029, according to Business of Apps

Chick-fil-A’s Digital-Only Restaurant Will Hire Just 40 People

Despite a recent Chick-fil-A restaurant opening in Hawaii having 140 employees, according to Chick-fil-A’s website, the digital-only restaurant in New York City will employ just 40.

Inside a Chick-fil-A restaurant. People are queuing up and there are a few employees at the tills serving them, as well as some working in the kitchen.

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The majority of these employees will be based in the kitchen; however, a few will be front-of-house to help assist with any order issues.


Food Orders Will Be Timed to the Customer’s Arrival

Unlike most food places where you’re told when your order’s ready and when you can go to collect it, Chick-fil-A is taking a different approach.

A man picking up a food delivery. The worker is wearing a mask and apron and is placing the food containers into a thermal bag.

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The Chick-fil-A website states that customers will order on their app or website, and the restaurant will be alerted to the order and will receive a further notification when the customer is coming to pick up the order so they know to start preparing it in the hopes that it will be done by the time the customer arrives. 


New York City Perfect for the Test Restaurant

The idea for Chick-fil-A’s digital-only restaurant was to deliver speed and convenience, so New York City was the perfect place for them to test out this entirely new concept.

New York City. Yellow taxis are driving down the road, as well as other cars and vans. Crowds of people are walking along the sidewalk and across the road.

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Many New Yorkers are constantly on the go and have to fit in eating with their busy schedules. This allows them to order ahead so they can have their food ready to be picked up at a time that is convenient for them. 


This Hospitality Meets the Demands of the New York Lifestyle

The idea for this Chick-fil-A digital-only restaurant was to be in convenient locations and offer a fast-paced service.

A crowd of people crossing a busy road in New York City. There is a building on the right with a sign that says ‘subway’ in red writing.

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This makes it the perfect place for New Yorkers, as their busy lifestyles will determine whether this restaurant is a success or a failure.


Chick-fil-A’s New Restaurant Offers Flexibility

With customer preferences growing, especially in the digital age, Chick-fil-A wants to grow with its audience to ensure they are meeting their needs.

A Chick-fil-A restaurant. A few people are queuing outside and some people are inside the building.

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Nation’s Restaurant News spoke to Khalilah Cooper, Chick-fil-A’s chief director of restaurant design, who said they look at how customers engage with Chick-fil-A and try to meet their needs that way. 


Walk-In Orders Are Also Available

Even though Chick-fil-A expects the majority of orders will be placed online ahead of time, it has developed a system to help those who might want to pop in and order.

A person holding a mobile phone. They have the camera app open and are scanning a QR code that says “scan for our menu” underneath.

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QR codes will be situated around the restaurant for customers to scan on their phones, and they can order their food from there, so they should still get their food in good time.


Chick-fil-A Has Always Been Proud of Its Hospitality

Whether Chick-fil-A has an in-person or digital restaurant, hospitality is at the core of everything.

Inside a Chick-fil-A restaurant. There is a queue of people waiting to be served, with some standing at the counter ordering. There is a sign on the wall that says “Chick-fil-A.”

Source: Sikander Iqbal/Wikimedia Commons

The Sun reports that the design plan for Chick-fil-A’s digital-only restaurant focused on the hospitality aspect to ensure better customer service when it comes to orders.