This was our first customer transaction at 6 am when we opened! This photo is almost 7 years old.
The Fall Creek area has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past several years. New stores and restaurants seem to be opening up constantly. One mainstay, the Chick-fil-A, owned by Fall Creek resident Duane Johnston, is already celebrating seven years of operation. Johnston's wife, Erica, who runs the marketing side of the restaurant, remembers the Fall Creek area before the recent surge in development.
“I remember looking out and seeing fields all around us. We have seen the Beltway expansion and the shopping center behind us be developed,” she said.
The Johnstons are both longtime Chick-fil-A employees, and even met when they were both working at Chick-fil-A. Johnson eventually moved into the corporate side of Chick-fil-A and decided to apply for ownership. To become an owner, Johnston had to submit a short application, which led to a longer, 30-page application and multiple interviews.
“The interview process, even though I had worked for them for several years, was between 15 and 18 months,” he said.
“Chick-fil-A is looking for a certain type of person. They have five C’s they look for: Character, Competence, Chemistry, College and Credit. Credit is very important. They build the restaurant and I am here taking care of it, so they need to know I can take care of my home finances before I can take on a business,” said Johnson.
All Chick-fil-A restaurants are built by the chain.
“Chick-fil-A determines where, when and how many restaurants will be in an area and they build them. Then they do extensive searching to find owner/operators for the stores,” said Johnston.
Typically an owner may only operate one Chick-fil-A, however they can apply for a second, and possibly a third.
Once selected, Johnston had to contribute less than $10,000 to become an owner/operator, considerably less than other franchises.
“We have a partnership and a profit sharing agreement with Chick-fil-A, so we end up with about 50 percent of the profit, and Chick-fil-A receives the other 50 percent,” said Johnston.
Johnston said there are 1,800 Chick-fil-A restaurants in the U.S. and the Fall Creek location ranks at about 150 in terms of volume.
For her part, Erica Johnston organizes multiple family events at the restaurant each week.
“Every Tuesday night, from 6 to 8 p.m., we have Family Night, where we have some sort of family event, ranging from a balloon artist or face painter to our recent rodeo night where we had pony rides and rodeo games,” she said. “Every Thursday night, from 6 to 8 p.m., we have Family Game Night, where we have all sorts of board games available. It’s a real treat to see a middle-schooler sit down to play Uno with his parents. On Friday mornings, we have Toddler time.”
The Johnstons are very happy with their location in Fall Creek and love living in and being a part of the community. They have been married for 11 years and have two children, 4 and 7, who attend Holy Trinity Episcopal School.