Who’s up for a six-week vacation?
Starting Thursday, the Southwest Drive of Chick-fil-A will be closed for four to six weeks to upgrade primarily the kitchen area of the 11-year-old location. Adam Browning, a store director, said the only major work done at the site since it opened was adding a second drive-through lane to relieve lines of cars extending onto Southwest Drive.
The closing happens to come when the Texas Department of Transportation is beginning work on the intersection of Southwest and Clack Street. TxDOT is replacing asphalt with concrete in hopes it will hold up better through adverse weather and heavy traffic.
Chick-fil-A customers in southwest Abilene won’t have far to go for a chicken sandwich, waffle fries and a lemonade. Another location is in the nearby Mall of Abilene. There also is the northeast Abilene location, on State Highway 351, though construction is ongoing in that area.
Browning, an Abilene Christian University graduate with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, said the remodeling goal is to improve speed and capacity in the kitchen area.
Chick-fil-A is paying for what’s called a “reinvestment” in the facility; store operator Brian LaCroix socked away money to pay his employees during the closing. This location has 70 employees, Browning said.
Browning said employees generally will do one of three things during the closing.
Some will vacation, he said.
Others will find a temporary job.
Others who have been identified as Chick-fil-A leaders of the future will be trained.
“They will take tours of other stores that have gone through the reinvestment,” he said.
And for Browning?
“It actually will be busier for me,” he said. Browning is in charge of hiring and training, so his skill set will be put to use while workers remodel the store.
Browning expects most employees to return to work after their summer break.
“We don’t expect many of them to leave,” he said.
After all, he said, they are being paid.