Dozens of people pitched tents and made meals for charity Wednesday in the 24 hours leading up to the official opening of Chick-fil-A in Federal Way.
The fast-food restaurant will begin serving its trademark chicken sandwiches and more to the public starting at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at 32025 Pacific Highway South near the intersection of South 320th Street.
The first 100 customers will receive free food for a year from the restaurant – a promotion that had Federal Way folks setting up tents early Wednesday morning.
“It was kind of spur of the moment,” said Andrew McBride, who arrived at 5:30 a.m. with two friends. “We were the first ones in the parking lot.”
Federal Way resident Tyler Slaeker set up a small disc golf station in the parking lot and also strung a hammock beneath the giant sign for the Celebration Center that faces Pacific Highway.
“It’s my wife’s birthday today, and she’s nice enough to let me come out and camp out,” he said, excited that Chick-fil-A is now basically in his backyard. “I’ll reward her with some sandwiches for her birthday.”
Owner and operator Ryan Powell said the restaurant is bringing between 90 and 100 jobs to Federal Way. The restaurant is also committed to making a positive impact in the area, he said, noting the 10,000 soup meals that campers assembled Wednesday. The meals will be distributed to food banks in the region, including the Multi-Service Center in Federal Way.
“We are part of a community,” Powell said. “That is a major part of our DNA.”
On a side note, Mayor Jim Ferrell told the Federal Way Chamber Board of Directors earlier this week that the city had a plan to reduce the impact of traffic that is expected in the restaurant’s first few days of operation.