What do you get when you mix these hobbies? Camping, Eating Out, Playing Games, Travel and Winning Prizes? You get a Chick Fil A First 100 Grand Opening Event. When Chick Fil A opens a new restaurant they offer the first 100 people free food for a year. That means that if you are among those lucky 100, you will receive 52 coupons for a free meal to use as quiclky or slowly as you decided to use them. You can even share them with friends and family as Christmas or birthday presents.
Chick Fil A First 100
You must arrive in the Chick Fil A parking lot before 6:00 am on the day before they open. They will then choose the first 100 people to participate. If there are more than 100 (and there always are!), they will do a raffle style drawing to pick 100. When we went earlier this week there were 180 people there trying to get in. We got picked at #23!!!
Once you are picked, you are given a few minutes to go to your vehicle and get your tent, sleeping bag, and whatever you might need for the next 24 hours. You MUST get everything you need at that time. You will not be allowed to go back to your car or run to a store.
Chick Fil A will feed the participants 3 meals plus all the tea and water you want througout the day. They provide games (like water balloon toss, hula hoop contests, corn hole, 4-square) and usually have a DJ onsite for evening entertainment.
You have periodic line checks where they call the participants up to form a line and they check to make sure everyone is on site. If you miss a line check for any reason, you are disqualified.
I have personally done 2 openings. We were at the Lexington KY opening in 2008 and at the newest Knoxville store opening this past week. I have family members who have participated in many more than that. These events are super addictive. Once you get chosen and get to participate in your first event, you want to go to more.
My kids are already asking when the next opening is going to be near us.
Tips for a Succesful First 100 Event
- Be on the property 20 minutes early. That gives you time to be in line and ready. If you arrive at 6:05 and the cut off for getting in line is 6:00, then you don’t have a chance at getting picked.
- Bring your photo id. In order to participate, you will need to show your photo id (and be over 18 years)
- Come hoping to stay but prepared to leave if you don’t get chosen. Always have a back up plan. I would never drive a far distance to attend a First 100 event unless you are willing to walk away if you are not chosen. You don’t want to waste your time on the ‘chance’ to be chosen. I always have a backup plan in case my number is not picked.
- Pack snacks. They will serve you chicken sandwiches and tea/water. But remember that you are going to be sitting in the parking lot for 24 hours. You may want to eat an apple, cookies or chips before you get released to go home.
- Bring sunscreen.
- If you have a canopy tent, bring it. The summer sun gets pretty hot and most parking lots don’t have shade trees.
- Earplugs are optional but could help you get some sleep. Remember that you are sleeping in a parking lot. Where we slept this last week in Knoxville, I heard a train, multiple trash trucks, regular traffic, sirens and other city noises. Earplugs could help you get a few hours of sleep.
- Be ready to meet new friends. It’s amazing the kind of people who show up for these events. I know it sounds corny, but by the time you leave, you feel like you really should exchange facebook names and email addresses so you can share photos, stories and bits of your future life.
- Bring a Busy Bag.You are going to have plenty of down time. So if you want to catch up on some reading, crochet or crossword puzzles, bring them! Many people bring games to pass the time. Rook, scrabble, uno, cornhole, ladderball, pictionary?
- Pack a toothbrush and washcloth. You won’t get a shower but you can at least brush your teeth. Just toss a toothbrush, toothpaste and washcloth in your bag so you won’t feel completely scrungy.
- Bathrooms are open 24 hours. You are not allowed to hang out in the restaurant, but you are able to use the restrooms at any time.
- Take a plastic grocery bag. It always amazes me how much trash we can generate over the course of 24 hours. If you have your own plastic trash bag, you won’t have to make 300 trips up to the trash can.
- Keep your cup! When you get checked in, you will usually be given a cup with your number on it. Keep up with that cup! You will not be given a new one. Chick Fil A wants to keep down the amount of trash that is generated, so just hang on to it.
- You will be crowded. There are going to be close to 75 tents squeezed into a very small space. Realize that your tent will be very close to your neighbor.
Have you been to one of these events? I’d love to hear your stories!