DUNWOODY, Ga. - More than a couple dozen people are camping out in a Chick-fil-A restaurant parking lot with the hopes of scoring a free meal per week for a year.
Jodi Meadows and Shelby Dillon were set up with laptops, typing away like they would have been any other Tuesday. Except on this Tuesday they were working from a tent inside a Chick-fil-A parking lot outside of Perimeter Mall.
“Our bosses know we’re here,” Dillon said. “We’re Skyping into a meeting at 1:30 this afternoon, so we’re making it work.”
The reason Dillon and Meadows were working from a tent instead of their desks was clear to the 35 or so people in tents around them: free Chick-fil-A for a year.
The first 100 people in line when the location officially opens at 6 a.m. on Sept. 2 will receive a digital offer card that is loaded with 52 free Chick-fil-A #1 meals.
The line for the giveaway officially started at 6 a.m. the day before the opening and many were out there, ready to pitch their tents and settle in for the wait.
Dillon and Meadows arrived at 5:45. Doug Miller, a 22 time veteran of Chick-fil-A grand openings first 100 giveaways, arrived just before 6 a.m.
A revision in Chick-fil-A first 100 rules now means that only people living within a specific radius of the new location are eligible for the giveaway. In past grand openings, Chick-fil-A fanatics would travel long distances to camp out and claim a free year of chicken. But not this time.
Miller said he’s traveled as far as Kentucky and South Florida in the past. This time, his Smyrna home fell just within the new location cut-off.
For the Ashford Dunwoody Road opening, the store set a 12-mile radius for giveaway eligibility.
Stephanie Robertson was joined by her mother Chandra Tuesday morning in her second attempt at winning the first 100 giveaway. Previously, Robertson had attempted attending an opening of a Chick-fil-A in Woodstock but was turned away as more than 200 people lined up.
“Before there were people coming from Illinois, there were people coming from Alabama and they would travel for a few weeks going from state to state, and that’s the reason why before I didn’t get in,” Robertson said. “But I’m glad that they changed the rules because really what you’re doing is you’re supporting your own community.”
By 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Chick-fil-A employee estimated that about 35 people were in line, with wristbands and set to receive their prize the next morning.
“Today is a light day so you could get here almost anytime today and still qualify,” Miller said.