Students respond as Chick-Fil-A prepares for grand opening


Photo by: Jess Velasquez

Chick-Fil-A sandwiches will be available right across the street starting Feb. 21.

After watching it in construction across the street for just over a year, students have been waiting for this day. Now it is just around the corner.

It may seem like simply another new restaurant to go right along with the Habit, but Chick-Fil-A management has welcomed those from APU with open arms, hiring students for jobs and being a Christian-run organization.

Junior applied exercise science major Tyler Trathen worked at Chick-Fil-A for six years as a manager before he came to APU and was hired at the Mexicali Grill. When the Azusa Chick-Fil-A began accepting applications, Trathen jumped right on it and because of his prior experience at the venue, received a lot of attention from management and got hired as a manager.

The grand opening will start Trathen’s seventh year working at Chick-Fil-A. The reason he has continued working for them over the years is because of how the organization is run and what they stand for.

“Working for Chick-Fil-A and seeing their backstory, they really have a good Christian upbringing; [the owner is] a Christian and they really respect the workers that work there,” Trathen said. “The motto we go by is, ‘Honor, Dignity, and Respect,’ so we treat every customer with honor, dignity, and respect and we treat each other [the same way].”

Trathen went on to ensure that Chick-Fil-A gives the best quality food to their customers.

Having worked at both an off-campus food job and an on-campus food job, Trathen is able to compare the two jobs; how they are different and how they are the same.

“Of course, at Mexicali, it’s a little bit more laid back and it’s a student job, but when you’re working at a job outside of school, it’s a lot more serious… I think we get away with more here, but it’s not a bad thing. They’re very helpful in the fact that they’re very lenient and they care about us more for our school work instead of our work [at the venue].”

Chick-Fil-A is offering the option for APU students to use their Cougar Bucks at the venue. With most students having meal plans rather than Cougar Bucks, business from APU students might not be as big as some may have anticipated, according to Trathen.

“The meal plan will still be in effect [on-campus], so I don’t feel like we’re going to take away from any of the venues here; only add support,” Trathen said. “I feel like they’re going to come a lot more on the weekends…. I don’t think it’s going to be a cause and effect where it will hurt Azusa’s venues, but rather, more of another variety that you have.”

Initially, Chick-Fil-A was set to open in January, but they were still trying to figure out the situation with parking and other logistics.

With the venue opening in a matter of weeks, students are not only excited for the food, but also because it is something different. Junior psychology major Tony Li is excited to have variation in food selection around campus.

“I think it’s a good idea to have another eating venue to go to because…it’s kind of the first place to sell chicken sandwiches, not just burgers, or tacos, or Sourdough Jack,” Li said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it just gets really repetitive. It’s just one of those things where it would be really good for people to have another option to go to.”

Senior psychology major Kellie Fujimoto believes Chick-Fil-A will be a great success, taking on the role of the new off-campus hotspot for APU students.

“I think it’s really neat how they’re accepting Cougar Bucks, it definitely increases the appeal of Chick-Fil-A in comparison to other nearby eating places for APU students,” Fujimoto said. “Though business will probably slow down after the initial wave of popularity, I think their business will do well and APU students will appreciate another eating option off campus where they can use Cougar Bucks.”

In just a few weeks, the doors of Chick-Fil-A will be opened and the anticipation shall transform into the consumption of chicken sandwiches.