NewsLocal News


Playing chicken: Neighboring businesses hope new Billings Chick-fil-A won't crowd out customers

Playing chicken: Neighboring businesses hope new Billings Chick-fil-A won't crowd out customers
Posted at 6:09 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 11:21:06-05

BILLINGS — The new Billings Chick-fil-A is set to open Thursday and already has plans in place for the heavy traffic they anticipate seeing, but many fear it won't be enough.

Chick-fil-A is hiring multiple off-duty Billings police officers to help direct the long lines. The plan is to have traffic weave in and out of Walmart's parking lot, then onto the road between Walmart and Planet Fitness and finally into the Chick-fil-A lot.

Plans for traffic flow

While the plans have been set in place, customers at neighboring businesses such as Planet Fitness are apprehensive about the traffic. Gym member Doug Hammeren is already used to the busy parking lot, but he fears it's about to get worse.

“With all the people that come to work out at usually between four and six (in the afternoon) around there, same time people are going to come to eat and leave, and it’s going to be massive trying to get out of here,” Hammeren said Tuesday.

New gym member Hannah Gustin is one of those people who plans on working out at a different time.

"I've thought about changing the times when I work out to when it's not peak visiting hours," Gustin said.

When longtime gym members Mary Jo Ketola and her husband first heard about the plans for Chick-fil-A to be in the Planet Fitness parking lot, they were worried.

"We said, 'oh my, it's going to be busy' and, 'where are we going to park?'" Ketola said.

But Ketola is looking forward to eventually trying some chicken, once the lines clear out, she said.

“I’m curious to try this Chick-fil-A because I’ve never had one,” Ketola said.

While Gustin may have to change her plans for when she works out, she does want people to remember to be well-mannered during the traffic jams.

"Look, I'm super stoked for Chick-fil-A. I'm sure everybody else is, too. But just be courteous of everybody that's coming in. Be patient, be kind," she said.