PORTAGE, Mich. (Feb. 23, 2017) – Local franchise owner Drees Rashid returns to the community where he attended Western Michigan University to be the pioneer of the area’s first Chick-fil-A opening – the last of three locations to open in metro Grand Rapids within six weeks of each other.
With the first opening being met with raving fans and longs lines, the same is expected at the 6202 S. Westnedge Ave. location at Crossroads Mall. To celebrate the opening, Rashid is inviting the community to camp out at his new restaurant to earn one of the free year supplies of Chick-fil-A meals being awarded to the first 100 in line and participate in the children’s book drive for local public schools.
The Chick-fil-A First 100
Metro-Grand Rapids’ first Chick-fil-A family-friendly overnight First 100 party at the Jan. 12 Gaines Township opening saw 66 people get in line at the 24-hour mark. The 66 included 30 guests who had never had Chick-fil-A before with 110 campers enduring early evening freezing rain and snow flurries that continued through the next morning. Many of those participants were gearing up for a repeat experience for the next opening in Wyoming on Feb. 9 even before thawing out and receiving their prizes at the first opening. The community event in Portage is open to guests residing in specific zip codes surrounding the restaurant. A complete listing of eligible zip codes and rules can be found at www.chick-fil-a.com/Locations/Openings.
Each winner will receive a digital offer card loaded with a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals (52 meals with each consisting of a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries and a medium beverage) that will be awarded to the first 100 eligible adults — ages 18 and older with identification — in line when the doors open around 6 a.m. on Feb. 23. If more than 100 people are onsite when the line officially opens at 6 a.m. on Feb. 22, a drawing will be held to select the First 100. Those chosen will be required to camp out until the grand opening to secure their spot.
The nearly 5,000-square-foot Portage Chick-fil-A restaurant features a:
· heritage, vintage-inspired interior, including a large gathering table made from reclaimed wood, subway tiles, and light fixtures made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles and peach baskets.
· drive-thru service with dual drive-thru ordering lanes and screens to enable customers to quickly move into a single lane for payment and pick up; as well as a Chick-fil-A One mobile ordering pickup parking space.
· dining room that seats 124, outside seats for 12, and a two-story interactive children play area and Wi-Fi.
· full-service menu including breakfast until 10:30 a.m., and will be open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Like all Chick-fil-A locations, it will be closed on Sunday to allow team members to have a day of rest and spend time with family and friends.
About Franchise Operator Drees Rashid
Rashid knows firsthand what it means to work hard toward achieving what one may think is impossible, especially growing up in a split family home in the inner city of Pontiac, Mich. Drive and determination led him at the young age of 10 to work a paper route and mow neighbors’ lawns. When he was 13, he set up a barber shop in the basement, growing his business to 60 customers before having to stop to attend college at Western Michigan University.
Rashid was the first in his family to graduate from college. Not only did he earn a degree in business, but also his master’s a year later in leadership on a full scholarship after being named a Thurgood Marshall Fellow. While attending grad school, Rashid also worked as a behavior specialist and building trainer at Kalamazoo’s Northeastern Elementary School.
“Having aimed to accomplish the impossible from a very young age I didn’t let the fact that Chick-fil-A receives some 30,000 applications annually for approximately 100 Operator opportunities stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming one of them,” said Rashid, who will be paying it forward for others who need someone to give them a chance. “My team and I are excited to help pioneer the brand in Michigan by providing freshly prepared food and a remarkable experience for the Portage and Kalamazoo communities.”
Rashid and his wife Marcia, who will support the business by applying her expertise in human resources, met in Michigan and look forward to raising their three children in the area. The Rashids are very passionate about foster care having become foster care parents themselves in October 2015 to twin boys who just turned three. They began the process of adoption nearly a year ago and just received word that it should be finalized next month. Another passion is child development with their focus centered around autism since receiving news that one of the twins may possibly have the disorder. They have learned very quickly the limited resources that are available to guide parents in this area and are eager to become advocates in the public arena.
While living in Pontiac, Mich., Rashid served as President of the Alumni Group – Omicron Alpha Alpha Chpater of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity of Pontiac. He has helped grow membership from 24 to 50 members that include a past mayor of Pontiac, automotive executives, and legal and government professionals. The group has been engaged in service projects in the communities of Pontiac and Flint, Mich.
Feeding Children Everywhere and Children’s Book Drive
Continuing his commitment to having a positive impact on those within and outside his restaurant, Rashid will begin those efforts during his grand opening week. Not only will the First 100 guests be putting together 10,000 meals for the Food Bank of South Central Michigan in support of Feeding Children Everywhere but also they will be able to join with other customers to participate in the children’s book drive for the local public schools. The donated books will be placed in a nearly 3-foot Book House, built from reclaimed wood, to serve as a free library exchange and will be given to a local youth organization. Since 2014, Chick-fil-A has collected more than 33,500 children’s books which have been donated to 213 local organizations in 42 states and Washington, D.C.
Chick-fil-A in Grand Rapids
The Portage Chick-fil-A restaurant is the third to have opened in metro Grand Rapids since Jan. 12, joining locations in Gaines Township off M-6 and Kalamazoo Exit and Wyoming off 54th Street – bringing 340 jobs to the area within the past six weeks. The restaurants are part of the overall Michigan expansion plan that calls for upwards of 20 new restaurants in the next five years with the state’s first stand-alone having opened in October in Lansing. The three restaurants are part of the 102 locations opening across the country in 2017, creating approximately 9,000 new jobs. For more information about the Westnedge Chick-fil-A, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CFAWestnedge.
About Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family owned and privately held restaurant company founded in 1967 by S. Truett Cathy. Devoted to serving the local communities in which its franchised restaurants operate, and known for its original chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A serves freshly prepared food in more than 2,120 restaurants in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Chick-fil-A system sales reached nearly $8 billion in 2016, which marks 49 consecutive years of sales growth. More information on Chick-fil-A is available at www.chick-fil-a.com.