Chick-fil-A’s amazing tradition when they open new restaurant locations: First 100 Giveaway. There are two versions: the 12-Hour Campout and the Red Carpet Rollout Giveaway. For the overnight event, people camp out in the new restaurant parking lot for a chance to win free Chick-fil-A food for an entire year. The tradition started by accident when a new restaurant in Arizona opened and the team was looking for a way to market this big event. Hundreds of people showed up for a chance to win, local news helicopters hovered above the parking lot, and a new tradition was born.
How the Free Food Giveaway Works
You can’t participate in the First 100 Giveaway unless you live in one of the designated zip codes. You can find this information at Chick-fil-a.com. This is meant to discourage people from traveling from outside the local area to win the free food. If more than 100 people show up to try to win free food, the restaurant will do a random drawing at the beginning of the event. Every eligible person receives one ticket and employees will randomly draw 100 tickets. After the First 100 Winners have been chosen, they will draw ten more tickets for people who will be alternates, in case someone drops out.
What “Free Food for a Year” Really Means
When I think of “free food for a year” I imagine being able to eat whatever I want, any day of the week. (Except Sundays of course!) But that’s not actually what the prize for the First 100 promotion is. Winners receive a digital offer card with 52 free meals that include:
- Original Chick‑fil‑A® Chicken Sandwich
- Medium Waffle Potato FriesTM
- A medium drink
The prize is worth about $325, depending on the location of the restaurant and how much a number one combo costs in that part of the country.
The Time I Camped Out to Win Free Food
I have never had the opportunity to camp out at a Chick-fil-A grand opening (other than when we attended the Berry Farms opening in Franklin, Tennessee.) However, I did camp out to win free Dunkin’ Donuts for a year! As I recall it was much less organized than the Chick-fil-A events, but my friends and I did end up winning free food for a year. It was on a punch card and I remember the squares were smaller than the punch so none of us felt like we received the full reward. I think we got a little tired of the food anyway! I also lived in a Pontiac Aztec for a week to try to win it but ended up getting second place. My prize was a TV, VCR and a camcorder. I think I also gained 10 pounds from sitting so much!
First 100 Campouts are Festive Fun
Judging by our experience at the Berry Farms, Tennessee First 100 Campout, these are very fun, festive events full of raving fans. We met a group of heifers (a name they came up with, not us!) wearing cow costumes and holding handmade signs just for the occasion. There is music, free food and lots of fun. So if a Chick-fil-A ever opens in your neighborhood consider trying to win free food for a year. You’ll probably also walk away with some great memories. In fact, we did a quick Facebook poll and heard from several people who had fun, memorable experiences from camping out to win something:
- Amelia: “I won a contest to camp out at the Chick-fil-A opening in the College Football Hall of Fame in ATL! So fun. We slept on the football field and they played football movies all night…won tickets to the opening game, lots of football/Chick fil a goodies and Chick fil a for a year!”
- Matthew: “My buddy and I literally camped out for free gear and gift cards when REI opened in Cincinnati.”
- Tim: “It was a dark and stormy night… Literally! Camped out with a group of Youth pastors this past October for the opening of our Chick-fil-A. Pouring rain till about midnight… Cold and windy! Couldn’t find my tent so I used a beach tent, you know those half tents you use for shade. Naturally, the local news station found us, and we were featured.”