PEMBROKE — Students at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke began lining up a half hour before the doors opened at Chick-fil-A. The signature chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, they said, were worth the wait.
Since opening on Jan. 19, long lines have snaked through the James B. Chavis University Center because students are happy the popular fast-food chain is on campus.
“The long lines are an example of the students’ excitement,” said Sandra Jackson, general manager of UNCP’s Dining Services. “The students are really excited to be able to get their food really quick.”
Jackson joined about 40 university employees, students, community supporters and the Chick-fil-A cow for a grand opening on Jan. 26.
The restaurant, which replaces the WOW Café, has been busy, serving up to 1,600 meals a day. While it’s known for its tasty chicken, Javon Graham is a fan of the milkshakes.
“I am pretty excited about it,” said Graham, a sophomore from Fayetteville. “I like it better than the WOW Cafe. The service is a lot faster and there is more of a variety here now.”
Fellow sophomores Mariah Peavey and Jeremiah McMillan took advantage of free samples of chicken and desserts during the celebration.
“Even though Chick-fil-A is always busy, they have really fast service, so it’s not that long of a wait,” Peavey said.
Dupree Potter said he is excited about the new dining option.
“Not everyone may want to eat in the cafeteria,” said Potter, a junior from Charlotte. “Students want other varieties of food to choose from, and everybody loves Chick-fil-A. It just makes the student experience even better.”
That was Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings’ goal when university leaders began planning to bring the restaurant to campus.
“This is all part of the student experience that we want to have here on campus. We have Starbucks, Papa John’s and now Chick-fil-A on campus,” he said, highlighting some of the campus dining options, which also include the Dining Hall, Einstein Bros Bagels, Jazzman’s Café, and Bakery and Braves Place.
Chick-fil-A is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 1 to 11:30 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.
Mark Locklear is Public Relations specialist with UNC Pembroke.