NEW YORK - If you needed another reason to visit the Big Apple, Chick-Fil-A is giving you one.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A is opening its biggest outpost in New York City on Saturday, marking a high-profile milestone in its push to become a bigger national player.
New Yorkers will soon be met with the Southern hospitality for which Chick-fil-A is known. When a customer says "thank you," for instance, workers are trained to respond with "my pleasure" instead of a phrase such as "no problem." The latter suggests that the service provided might have been an inconvenience, said David Farmer, Chick-fil-A's vice president of menu strategy and development.
The new Chick-fil-A is 3-stories and about 5,000 square feet total. Located on the corner of 37th Street and 6th Avenue, it is scheduled to open at 6 a.m. Saturday
Like every other new location, people are expected to be camping out in front waiting for the grand opening. The first 300 people will enter a drawing for free meals and other Chick-Fil-A items. They also will be entered into a legendary First 100 Event and Giveaway. And leading up to the big moment, campers will be treated to 12- hour of free food, shelter, and entertainment.
Chick-fil-A restaurants continue to outperform other chains. Last year, its stores on average pulled in $3.2 million in sales, according to industry tracker Technomic. That's compared with $2.5 million for McDonald's, $1.2 million for Burger King and just $960,000 for KFC.
"We feel like we're pretty small and we could build restaurants for a long time," said David Farmer, Chick-fil-A's vice president of menu strategy and development. "There are so many places where we have no presence, or limited presence. It's just a lot of opportunity."
Among the areas the company doesn't have as many stores are New England and the Northwest.
Over the next two years, the company plans to open several more locations in New York City including a Long Island location on Oct. 7 and a West 46th and 6th Avenue in early 2016. The company already has a location on the campus of New York University, but the menu is limited.
Even when Chick-fil-A opens in new markets, the company says transplants from its regional strongholds help generate excitement for its arrival. That is the case for Amanda Haas, a 25-year-old administrative assistant in New York City who grew up in Texas.
For now, Chick-fil-A is still comparable in size to Chipotle and Popeye's, which each have roughly 1,800 locations in the U.S., according to Technomic. By comparison, McDonald's has more than 14,300 locations, and KFC has more than 4,300.
But even though Chick-fil-A is opening in the City that Never Sleeps, just like every other location, the New York Chick-fil-A will be closed on Sunday.
The chain now has more than 1,900 stores in 42 states, although its heaviest presence is in the South. It is expected to open 100 new locations by the end of the year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report