- Last month, Chick-fil-A opened its first restaurant built with a modular construction process, with help from Conyers, Georgia-based modular builder Frey-Moss Structures.
- The brand’s Roswell, Georgia, restaurant was completed in 12 weeks, much shorter than the 23 weeks that an average “scrape and rebuild” project on a Chick-fil-A location can take, the company said in its announcement.
- The fast food chain expects to introduce additional modular building projects in the coming months, it said.
The Chick-fil-A Restaurant Development team has looked into the use of modular construction for several years as the group explored ways to improve the brand’s remodeling and rebuilding process, the release said.
Construction of the Roswell restaurant was similar to any other offsite project: All of the different components were constructed separately in a factory, then transported to the location on the backs of large trucks.
Chick-fil-A said the modular approach aids the company in a number of ways:
- First, the improved efficiency and time savings means the structure goes up much faster. This not only reduces the time that the restaurant is without revenue, but benefits owners and operators who often still pay employees during the time off.
- Second, the method will allow for consistency and quality in the fast food chain’s buildings across the country.
“By building the restaurant offsite, we maintain control over the build process without the interference of outside factors, which helps ensure a consistent quality of construction,” Trent Gilley, lead designer of the modular building program at Chick-fil-A, said in the announcement. “It helps us get these stores open as quick as we can.”
Other benefits, the company said, are that modular construction is more resource efficient than traditional construction, creates less waste and allows for more consistent quality. At the same time, it limits disruptions to nearby businesses and the surrounding area.
While overall food and beverage construction starts plunged 27% year-to-date through July, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, starts at some chains that offer drive-thrus have gone up. Chipotle's starts were up 70% through July, while Chick-fil-A and Starbucks saw increases of 30% and 7%, respectively, according to the firm.