Curbside ordering has been an option for customers visiting the Five Points South Chick-Fil-A on Birmingham’s Southside since June 3 (it was announced on the fan page they have on Facebook on May 27). The service is a flash point of conversation, though it is still available, as this photo was taken shortly before 12 p.m. shows. A sign posted in the parking lot state It is an option weekdays between 6 a.m. – 2:55 p.m.
While the service is new to the Five Points South location, it’s not so new to the company. A similar service has been offered at their Indian River Mall location in Vero Beach, FL for more than two years. Customers “drive-up” to designated parking spots and call in their orders; those visiting the Five Points South location pull up to a tent in the parking lot and place an order with an attendant and then proceed to an assigned spot.
It is seen by many as a workaround of one of the restrictions placed on the fast food restaurant by the city’s Design Review Committee in when the location’s site plan was approved in August 2010 – one that left some wondering if the committee would take action once it learned of it.
The committee voted today to turn the issue over to the city’s planning department (specifically the director of urban planning) to investigate specific violations of the site plan after local attorney Alton Parker addressed them and asked for action to be taken. The item was added to the agenda shortly after today’s regularly scheduled meeting started. The committee went into executive session after completing the agenda to discuss next steps.
The chain, known for having the nation’s best drive-through service, has faced opposition in recent months throughout the country as they attempt to continue an aggressive expansion plan, particularly in California. Mountain View’s city council voted 4-2 last October to deny a site plan calling for a drive-through at a congested portion of El Camino Real. The Atlanta, GA-based company appealed the Santa Rosa planning commission’s decision to that municipality’s city council last May in order to get permission to construct a 4,400 square foot location with a drive-through. Even when they’ve been successful with securing one, as in Santa Barbara earlier this year, it hasn’t always gone off without a hitch.
The Southside location opened in 2011 – several months after Chick-Fil-A debuted its new “in-line” variation in Chicago. The Windy City’s second drive-thru absent location is opening in the Loop on June 20.
NOTE: Don’t forget to check out a full recap of today’s Design Review Committee meeting on Thursday.