A brand new freestanding Chick-fil-A restaurant opened yesterday on Route 70 in Cherry Hill at the Garden State Pavilions. This is a relocation of the store which was located a half mile away at the “Wegmans” Garden State Park shopping center
It seems the reasons behind the relocation was to grow the restaurant space in several facets including ordering area, dining seats, kitchen, and likely the most significant new feature… adding a full two lane drive-thru experience.
While the former location had the benefit of more shoppers already in the center, if your goal was simply to stop in at Chick-fil-A for a meal… well customers should find the location at Garden State Pavilions easier to get in and out of.
Plus the new building is more prominently seen from the busy Route 70 traffic, which should act as free advertising aspect for the tens-of-thousands of commuters driving by each day.
The new free standing story was developed on a large dedicated lot which previously was home to a Friendly’s restaurant and offered much more room for Chick-fil-A to improve their offerings in all aspects.
This new store development and relocation is all about improving the flow of customers… getting to the store, the interior ordering and dining experience, and adding a streamlined drive-thru… so that customers can get their orders faster, and the store can increase the number of happy customers they can move through the store each hour.
The prior location had challenges restricting its expansion. It was attached at the end of a multi-unit building which did not allow space to develop a drive-thru on the end of the building, AND to expand the kitchen, which would’ve been needed to support the additional sales volume of a drive-thru.
The announcement of the new Chick-fil-A opening was made yesterday on their Facebook page, and I stopped in this morning bright and early for a Chick-fil-A breakfast
Even though it was raining and I was heading out at 6:30 AM from Deptford, I caught a break and traffic was just perfect all the way through the Bellmawr construction! So factoring in the early 7am visit, the rain, and the brand new location… when I arrived at the just opened Chick-fil-A… I was the only customer in the store.
Note, a new Raising Cane’s Chicken Restaurant is being developed in the “Wegman’s” shopping plaza immediately NEXT to the former Chick-fil-A location… I stopped there also but will save that update for tomorrow. For now you can check my August update!.
Chick-fil-A : Inside Dining Experience
The new store is very bright and a pleasant design with a variety of seating options in the dining area.
The design of the building is definitely different from what I’m familiar with from the “Classic” Chick-fil-A stores such as Deptford. Most of the locations I’ve visited are more rectangular front to back, with the counter near the back and most of the customer dining in the front.
This new route 70 Chick-fil-A flip-flops the design by putting the walk-in customer counter area immediately at the front door, so you aren’t navigating around dining customers. They’ve even put thought into the “flow of people”!
The Front counter menu screens at the new Chick-fil-A are fully digital, and when I was there at 7:00 AM they were configured to only show me the breakfast options, as you would expect.
There is plenty of space for a large queuing area and wide front counter.
If you’ve visited the prior Rt 70 location you’ll agree that this is a huge upgrade on it’s own, as the narrow width of the old restaurant made the ordering experience cramped and confusing at times.
The dining area is all off to the right side of the building and includes a variety of seating options including casual tables and chairs, several booth style tables along the side windows, and even a large communal style raised table at the front of the dining area.
Outside the side windows along the outer wall of the building are several tables situated for outdoor dining.
Chick-fil-A : Drive-Thru Experience
Chick-fil-A is recognizing how important the drive through is to their business post pandemic and has developed this building with that in mind both in the two drive through capacity, as well as what appears to be a much larger kitchen area
This is so important to the brand that they are currently moving through the long open Chick-fil-A restaurants in South Jersey, and implementing significant upgrades and remodels to enlarge the kitchens and add a full dual lane drive-thru. Currently the Deptford Clements Bridge Rd location is closed for upgrades, and I believe Marlton also.
I’ve explained this drive-thru experience in several other posts, but let me quickly review it in context of this specific new Route 70 location.
But first a step back, as other restaurants have two lane drive-thru configurations also, right?
Well for most other fast food restaurants while they may have two drive-thru lanes at the ordering menu screens, they will typically then merge the two lanes together so that it’s a single lane running up along the side of the building… so you can pay at the cashier window, and then move to a second window to get your food.
Absolutely just adding the second menu ordering lane improves things, but it can still cause a jam-up when the two lanes merge ahead of the cashier window.
The difference with the new Chick-fil-A configuration is the dual lanes support being utilized as two lanes.. all the way through, including the cashier aspect AND receiving your food!
So then you wonder, if you’re in that outer lane furthest from the building, how do you pay and then receive your food?
What Chick-fil-A has done is put an exterior employee door in place of the two windows (cashier and food).
This is so that employees can actually exit the building easily and walk up to your car to collect your payment, and hand you your food. If you are in that outside lane they will walk over to your car.
The new Route 70 Chick-fil-A literally does not have the two employee windows on the side of the building. Just the employee access door
Also recognizing the importance of today’s drive-thru experience for customers and revenue, the new Chick-fil-A offers large overhead canopies at both the menu ordering area, and the final cashier area.
This is so that when rain or snow is coming down and you have to roll down your car window, you are fully protected from the weather elements from above.
So you could look at this as.. “eh they simply moved the existing Chick-fil-A, big deal”.
But if you’ve waited too long in the past at the old location to get your order, never bother to even stop in because it looked too crowded, or never went because they did not have a drive-thru… you’re going to see this new Chick-fil-A as a big plus
Links and Location
Chick-fil-A Cherry Hill – Garden State Pavillions
2250 Route 70 West
Cherry Hill NJ 08002
Open for breakfast and until 10pm