DTLA is about to “eat mor chikin.” America’s most lucrative fast food restaurant chain is finally coming to Downtown LA opening in the heart of the Financial District. According to Business Insider, Chick-Fil-A generates the highest revenue per restaurant over any other fast food chain in the country. It’s also apparently the most popular fast food chain in the country, even surprisingly, besting the venerated In-N-Out Burger in recent customer survey rankings.
Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A has signed a lease near the corner of 7th and Figueroa on the ground floor of the Figueroa Tower, which is a 24-story office high-rise built in 1988 designed to look “more historic” blending into the rest of 7th Street. The eatery — famous for their simple menu of chicken sandwiches and for closing all their restaurants every Sunday — will take over a vacant space once occupied by an HSBC Bank branch. The defining feature of the space will definitely be the ultra-high ceilings and huge windows that face 7th Street.
Around the corner from Chick-Fil-A in the same building, Figueroa Tower, a new Panera Bread is slowly, slowly making its way through the design approval process as it is still not open to this day. Back in August 2015, we reported that Panera Bread had signed a lease and would open by late 2015. However, because the space is located above a Metro subway station, Panera Bread has faced approval challenges with Metro regarding the store’s basement, which would apparently be needed for part of their kitchen and baking equipment. I was told by building management that eventually Metro and Panera Bread will come to an agreement — hopefully sooner rather than later!
The arrival of Chick-Fil-A in Downtown LA will be a great boon for both office workers and downtown residents alike. It will provide yet another tasty fast casual option to a growing list of affordable eateries opening in downtown. In my “perfect downtown,” it would have a great mix of fine dining and fast casual, indies and chains, appealing to a broad range of tastes and preferences for everyone in the mood for something different on any given day. People who love Bestia may very likely shop at Target and want to grab a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. I believe a great city center should have generally a lot of everything — a balance of high and low and everything in between.
Unless Chick-Fil-A faces the same issues with Metro as Panera Bread next door, which hopefully won’t happen, expect it to open later in 2017.