West Allis - Winter slammed into the area last week, but the cold didn't keep hardy Chick-fil-A lovers from camping out overnight at the newest restaurant location, 2645 S. 108th St., West Allis, to be rewarded the next morning with free Chick-fil-A for a year.
The prize went Thursday, Dec. 8, to the first 100 adults living in zip codes around the restaurant. The Chick-fil-A cow lead a conga line of winners into the restaurant to receive their prizes from West Allis Chick-fil-A owner David Schiedt.
The restaurant is now open for business 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Like all Chick-fil-As, it is closed on Sundays.
The West Allis restaurant is the seventh to open in Wisconsin and the fourth that opened this year. It features a heritage restaurant design that showcases handmade, authentic materials for a vintage-inspired interior. It includes a large gathering table made from reclaimed wood, subway tiles and light fixtures made from recycled Cocoa-Cola bottles and peach baskets.
The restaurant has a two-story interactive indoor play area for children and free WiFi. The dining room seats 134, with more seating on the patio.
The menu offers breakfast until 10:30 a.m. Then the lunch and dinner items take the stage.
Becoming a Chick-fil-A franchise operator is no small feat. The company receives about 24,000 applications yearly for the approximately 100 franchise opportunities available. Schiedt is originally from Atlanta, where the headquarters of the family-owned and privately held Chick-fil-A Inc. is located. The chain was founded in 1964.
Schiedt earned a business degree from the University of Georgia where he was a four-time academic All-American. He was in track in college, specializing in the javelin and the hammer throw. He also made the east regional track team.
Schiedt won the Dick Bestwick Award, honoring the male senior athlete with the highest grade point average.
He worked in food service in college and joined Chick-fil-A after graduating.
"I've always been passionate about food," he said. And if you are going into business, "You have got to be passionate about the product."
He gravitated to Chick-fil-A because he liked the people, the vision and the focus on development, growth and relationship-building, he said.
"That's how I'd like to do business and how I want to live my life," he said.
He became a team member at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta before being offered the chance to join the chain's interim manager program. In that role, he managed Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country for several years before being selected as the newest Wisconsin franchise owner.
"It was a five-year journey," said the happy Scheidt.
Although hailing from the South, he already makes his home in West Allis near the farmers market. His parents are from Indianapolis where he still has family, along with more family in Chicago.
In this his maiden voyage into business, Scheidt said he is greateful for the enthusiasm he saw as the hardy Wisconsinites camped out.
"I was humbled by all the patrons coming and braving this weather," he said.