Hey, hey, hey! Chick-fil-A is on the way!
Residents excited about news of popular eatery’s pending arrival
firstname.lastname@example.org “Yaayyyyy!!!” wrote Kennedie East, one of the first of the Evening Times’ Facebook followers under the post about work beginning on a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in West Memphis. “I’m so excited!”
East was not the only one to get hyped up about the news. A post of a bulldozer in action at a work site on the I-40 Service Road in West Memphis was enough to get the buzz going on social media, with more than 58,000 checking out the post, which was shared more than 700 times in less that 48 hours.
“My kids are too!!” replied Ashley Reece.
For years now, Crittenden County residents have clamored for a Chick-fil-A franchise of their very own. There’s even a dedicated Facebook page “Chick-fil-A 4 West Memphis, AR” that has championed the cause since 2016. County Judge Woody Wheeless has even taken it upon himself to contact Chick-fil-A corporate, as well as other businesses, about the potential for opening a branch of the popular eatery in this area.
For years, speculation and rumor were all that anyone heard, but last year, the pieces began to fall into place. While city officials in West Memphis have remained mum under a nondisclosure agreement, residents began to hear more and more rumblings.
Last January, the first concrete evidence that Chickfil- A was making plans in West Memphis surfaced when the city’s Design & Review Commission met to approve designs for a new restaurant. Again, non-disclosure confidentiality prevented anyone with the city confirming the identity of the restaurant, although renderings clearly depicted the popular eatery’s signature look.
Allyson Hamrick is ready, saying, “I started my diet today. I’m only dieting until Chick-fil-A is officially open.”
Some were in denial, like Kathryn Padgett, who said, “No way!” Others were eager to tag their friends in the post and share the news.
Leigh Ann Darnell tagged her Facebook friends Diane Blackford and Wayne Atkins with the message, “See!?!?!”
Britney Norsworthy told her friend Taylor Jackson, “I’m excited for this. I’m gonna be broke.” Jackson agreed, adding, “I’ve been craving some Chick-fil-A.”
Kelly Sly tagged her friend Samantha Bell, even though she lives in Memphis.
“I don’t know why I decided you needed tagged about Chick-Fil-A coming to this side of the bridge, but I figured you might appreciate it as much as me,” Sly said.
There were some concerns raised about the location.
Amy Sue Thorn said, They picked the worst place for the location… the worst!”
Lancey Stone said, “They will attract millions of people who travel the interstate. That’s is why they are building in that location.”
And of course, with it being social media, there was plenty of negativity to go around.
Trey Mccracken said, “They must gonna be bringing in people from other states to work there.
Nobody in West Memphis has the personality to work at Chick-fil-A.
To which Aerin Miller replied, “Not with that attitude, Trey.”
But Mccracken’s comment did create a discussion about Chick-fil-A hiring a
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Photo by John Rech workforce that could uphold the company’s high customer service standards. Cassandra Gilmer said, “Lord, let them hire people from surrounding areas.
West Memphians are not so nice at our current restaurants. Send the my pleasure crew here to serve us and give us seven sauces with one combo.”
K.B. Cole had a snappy response for Gilmer, noting, “Girl, anyone can have a nice attitude while on the clock. LOL!”
Carey Charlton wasn’t having it. “To all those saying no one has the personality to work there,” Charlton said, “maybe you should learn how to be a better person and raise your kids to be better people. You are a reflection of West Memphis.
Maybe getting some Lord's Chicken is exactly what this town needs.”
Jay Brown added, “There are plenty of good people in this town. If you don’t know any, then maybe you’re hanging around the wrong people?”
Darlene Mcghee was optimistic.
“I think it's wonderful,” she said. “I love Chick-fil-A, and they will find workers.
There are plenty of people in West Memphis and surrounding areas that want and need jobs that walk to work. I think employees work better when they're treated with some respect.
I'm sure there's a training process for Chick-fil-A. I don't live in West Memphis, but I drive to West Memphis all the time and to eat in Marion, since we don't have Popeye's and we don't have Taco Bell. I know lots of people don't like Taco Bell, but I do. We don't have Pizza Hut and we don't have a barbecue place anymore. I say give them a chance. You either like it or you don't? But it's a great thing happening in our area.”
Lisa Bodnar took the opportunity to offer some insight on the community in more of a “big picture” comment.
“Employees will be as rude as the company and management will continue to allow them to be,” she said. “If we have a customer service problem in this area, and I am including the Marion area as well, it’s because of the management allowing it to continue to happen. Furthermore, it’s NOT just in the fast food service area. We have issues in grocery stores, pharmacies, dentist offices and even in doctor’s offices. How many times have you sat in a waiting room listening to front desk personnel talking on personal phone calls or nurses behind closed doors laughing and talking about personal stuff while a waiting room is full of patients and doctors are standing around? I know I have several times. Have you been forgotten by the front desk and sat in wait room while everyone was seen way before you but you’ve been there hours before them??
And yes they saw the same doc!! Or waited for a prescription for an hour that was sent in eight hours earlier? What do you say that is?? That is bad customer service! I have seen front desk personal eating at the doctors front desk while checking in patients and pharmacist filling meds while eating! My point is, if you want to call out bad customer service, see it for what it is! People — especially young people — will do what and how they want to behave as long as they are allowed to. Our businesses around here need to stop allowing bad customer service and have more pride in their services especially the professional business offices! Hold people accountable and things will change but if grown adults will do it why should we believe our youth will. Our city as a whole needs to do better.”
But with Chick-fil-A on the way, the community is very excited. It’s still a long way to go until the chicken sandwiches start flying out the drive-thru window, but Charles Stover may have summed it up best.
Said Stover, “That's great news!!!!”