For years, Missoula residents have clamored for certain franchise restaurants. And while Sonic Drive-In and Olive Garden are still on the wish list, chicken fans are happy in the henhouse with this week's opening of the new Chick-fil-A.

The restaurant opened Thursday morning, with a steady stream of breakfast, lunch, and dinner traffic as business "pecked up" throughout the day.

The Atlanta-based company is opening only its second location in Montana, an accomplishment made possible by a lot of people.

"We have team members from across the country helping train my local team of 100 plus employees at this point kind of learn the ropes of Chick-fil-A," explains franchised Owner/Operator Jonathan Lovette. "Also, the entire construction crew. Everybody, even in all the city departments that helped us with permitting and construction, traffic planning."

Chick-fil-A changed the drive-thru drudgery

Chick-fil-A uses a unique system to handle that traffic, with a multiple-lane drive-through where employees use mobile tablets to start orders, all protected from the weather by a special heated canopy. 

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Lovette notes the company is already implementing its community-supporting programs.

"So on the surface, what we do is sell chicken. But we also are here to serve the community. So in some of the ways we've already started to do that," Lovette told me.

"As an example, we gave $25,000 through Feeding America to a number of local food pantries or soup kitchens here in the Missoula area yesterday."

The restaurant also started its program honoring 100 "community heroes", giving healthcare workers at Community Medical Center free Chick-fil-A food for a year. 

Chick-fil-A is open Monday through Saturday from 6 am to 10 pm with dine-in, drive-thru, and carry-out orders, including via the restaurant's app. The drive-thru remains open until 11 pm.

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