JAMES CITY COUNTY — The Chick-fil-A in Monticello Marketplace is getting an expansion that will give the location a more streamlined system, including the addition of what could be the largest parking lot in the company.
David Zitzelberger, senior director of Chick-fil-A Monticello, said that the expansion project has been about three years in the making.
Though the project has been pushed back due to various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition is set to happen within the next five to seven months.
The former Burger King building will be the new Chick-fil-A restaurant, and the current Chick-fil-A site will be torn down and then transformed into the restaurant’s parking lot.
“From what we’ve been told, it’s going to be the largest parking lot in the company, chain-wide,” Zitzelberger said.
While the Chick-fil-A building itself will not be among the largest in the company, Zitzelberger said that it will have a more streamlined system.
“The biggest positive that’s going to come out of this, in my opinion, is we’re going to have two lanes that wrap all the way around the building, so there’s not going to be the awkwardness of the merge point that we currently have,” he said.
Currently, Chick-fil-A Monticello’s drive-thru system includes two parallel ordering lanes that merge into a single lane. After placing their orders with an employee who comes to the customers’ cars, drivers are told which cars to follow in line.
“Now they’re literally just going to be able to pull forward and go,” Zitzelberger said.
He said that there will also potentially be a third lane, which could be used as an express lane for mobile orders.
Having a larger parking lot would also allow for up to 25 to 30 curbside pick-up lanes.
Zitzelberger said that the expansion will help provide a faster customer experience, as well as relieve stress for employees.
The new kitchen will be split up to allow employees in one part of the kitchen to focus solely on drive-thru customers, while the other part of the kitchen will focus on over-the-counter service.
“Right now, team members in those positions are having to manage two of those, and when you have to do that, something takes priority” he said. “Priority might be more on drive-thru, because that’s where the majority of the guests are. So by splitting that, now all of the guests are the top priority.”
Construction was set to begin this past winter, but is now anticipated to begin this month.
Zitzelberger said that once the transition into the new building is completed, the dining room, which has been closed, will reopen to guests.
Chick-fil-A, Inc., which owns the property, will hire an outside contractor for the expansion project.