Chick-fil-A announced plans on Tuesday to continue its much-anticipated “First 100” promotion well into the new year, promising to give almost 10,000 customers free Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich combo meals in upcoming months.
The inaugural “First 100” took place in Arizona in 2003. Since then, the promotion has evolved into an honored tradition for the 42-year-old chicken-based fast food chain. Numerous times, company President and COO Dan T. Cathy even makes an appearance. According to the company’s website, now every new store opening kicks off with a “First 100” celebration, during which 100 customers receive “a free, year’s supply of Chick-fil-A.”
Initially, restaurants simply handed out prizes to the first 100 customers to show up at a new location, but as the event gained popularity and consistently drew immense crowds, Chick-fil-A implemented a new system for awarding the free food. Currently, customers usually arrive twenty-four hours before a store’s scheduled opening and must register for the event, showing valid identification (only adults 18 and over are eligible for the contest). Store officials then choose 100 registrants at random to receive 52 coupons, each good for three free items — a soft drink, an order of Chick-fil-A Waffle Potato Fries, and a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich. If used once a week, the coupons will in fact ensure a year’s worth of free food.
In a press release announcing Thursday’s opening of a standalone store in Orange County, CA, the company notes its plans to open seventy-eight new locations over the next year. If 100 customers each receive fifty-two coupons at the seventy-eight different events, by year’s end, the chain will have delivered 405,600 combo meals. Chick-fil-A estimates the value of these meals to reach $1.8 million.
Chick-fil-A expects to create 4,500 new jobs with its upcoming store openings, bringing the company total to just under 5,500 total employees.