GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Keith Kiser has been selling Chick-fil-A’s sandwiches, salads and waffle fries to diners in Greensboro for about 40 years. As of Tuesday, he will do so in a gleaming new facility not far from his old one.
His store that had served customers in the Brassfield Shopping Center for the past 23 years will reopen at 3714 Battleground Ave, across U.S. 220 in the Battleground Plaza, as of 10:30 a.m.
Kiser, who said he started in 1981 at Chick-fil-A’s outlet in the Four Seasons Mall – “CFA was only located in malls in 1981,” he said – was the owner/operator of the mall’s facility before opening in a corner lot at Brassfield on Jan. 29, 1998.
His new location is significantly larger, significantly more visible to passing traffic, easier to access from the parking lot of the plaza and – most prominently – includes two, covered drive-thru lanes that resemble more a bank than most fast-food outlets.
“Server/ordertaker comfort and meal delivery in all weather conditions led to this design standard,” Kiser said in an email to WGHP.
He said that drive-thru sales typically make up about “60%-70%” of the business and have grown in the past two years.
“With dining rooms COVID-closed, 90% of sales are from drive-thru and 10% from catering,” he said.
The new restaurant won’t have its dining room available on opening day because of the ongoing pandemic, but that area can accommodate many more customers than the old restaurant.
“It will seat 100+ inside and 26 seats outside when COVID restrictions are lifted,” Kiser said.
He also said the employee base will be growing from about 75 team members to 90 at the new location and that the goal is to “move six cars per minute” through the drive-thru.
Kiser termed his relationship with Chick-fil-A as a “unique partnership with the corporation.”
The company, owned privately by the Cathy family since 1967, operates, its website says, more than 2,500 restaurants nationally. There are about 175 in North Carolina and about 13 in the Greensboro-High Point area, including, yes, that outlet in the Four Seasons Mall. There are dozens more across the Triad.
“We are legally franchise owners,” Kiser said. “As such we split profits 50/50 with CFA Inc.”
And if you think Chick-fil-A is a family restaurant, the Kisers certainly operate theirs as a family.
Keith Kiser brought in his son, Brian, as an assistant manager, starting at an early age.
“Brian was a precocious 7-year-old register operator for me on Saturdays,” Keith Kiser said. “Because he was my son, I didn’t violate child labor laws letting him work the register.”
He said his wife, Sharon, has helped in the business by handling public relations. They also have a daughter in Brevard and seven grandchildren.
And the Kisers and their partners both trace their roots to Georgia, where the company’s chicken sandwich first was cooked in Hapeville.
Keith Kiser, a Vietnam veteran, said his family moved from Georgia 38 years ago – “Go Dawgs,” he said – and that he has business degrees from Valdosta State.
Brian Kiser attended Southeast Guilford High School and graduated from Appalachian State.
The new place
Keith Kiser said discussions and negotiations about the move had been underway for a couple of years. He owns the building where the restaurant has been operating but pays to lease the land.
“It’s closing with final disposition based on the land lease,” he said.
There is one minor change along with all the major ones: The new restaurant will close an hour earlier (at 9 p.m.) Monday through Saturday. The doors after the first day are scheduled to open at 6:30 a.m.
The move had been delayed slightly by technical issues, but Kiser said it was much needed.
“Because of the narrow footprint of the Brassfield location, we began to explore larger lots to expand upon,” he said. “Our business outgrew our facilities, and we needed to expand our drive-thru.
“We strive to provide personal service coupled with speed and accuracy.”