People Camp Out Overnight for a Chance at Free Chick-fil-A for a Year

100 lucky customers will get free sandwiches at the new Detroit restaurant.

January 9, 2020

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WWJ) -- Metro Detroit is set to get its first standalone Chick-fil-A restaurant on Thursday, but hundreds of people lined up in the cold Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday for their chance at free food for a year.

Some waited overnight in tents to be among the first to taste the first Chick-Fil-A sandwiches made in the area. The restaurant opened at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, at which time the temperature was about 19 degrees.

"This is beyond ridiculous!!!" Artisha Phipps-Nelson wrote on Facebook about the parking lot campers.

Chick-Fil-A enthusiasts started lining up the day before, some braving the cold to register for the "First 100 Red Carpet Rollout." The rollout awarded 100 lucky entrants 52 free #1 meals -- a classic Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich, waffle fries and a drink -- which averages out to one a week for a year.

Since there were more than 100 customers lined up outside the new restaurant on Wednesday -- at 3355 Fairlane Drive at Fairlane Green, the shopping area known as the “The Hill" -- each person in line was given a number for a drawing that picked the 100 winners.

Mia Tharpe, one of the very first customers in line on Wednesday, told WWJ's Jon Hewett she hasn't had Chick-Fil-A in 10 years, since she moved to Michigan from the south.

"If I get it, that'll be nice to have it after a really long time," she said.

While there are already numerous Chick-Fil-A restaurants within existing locations across the area, such as Ford Field, the Detroit Medical Center and Detroit Metro Airport, when the Allen Park location opens on Thursday, it will be the area's first standalone Chick-Fil-A restaurant -- one of several set to open in 2020.

The Atlanta-based franchise is expected to open locations in Northville, Novi and Shelby Township later this year, with an unconfirmed date for a location in Roseville.

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