Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks  title=
Updated Chick-fil-A drive through rendering at 3707 State St. (Courtesy photo)
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By the edhat staff

Popular fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A has won the approval of the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review this week for it's new drive-thru design aimed at quelling traffic issues.  

On Monday the board voted 6-0 for the new design which will create three separate drive-thru lanes with one allowing vehicles to bypass the drive-thru and park in the lot. This will also involve restructuring the exterior space to include widening the driveway entrance by 10 feet, removing landscaping and sixteen parking spots, and relocating handicapped parking spaces to the exit side of the building.

The 3709 State Street location used to be the home of Burger King and wasn't accostomed to as much vehicle traffic as Chick-fil-A has received since opening in 2013. 

Drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, residents, and fried chicken enthusiasts became frustrated by the long lines backing onto Upper State Street, often blocking entrances and exits for surrounding businesses.

Previous Chick-fil-A traffic congestion on Upper State Street next to a warning sign (Photo: edhat reader Josh B. / file)


This past June, the Santa Barbara City Council approved a proposed traffic circulation agreement that provides enforceable traffic control measures and site improvements for the chain restaurant. It previously voted to direct staff to prepare a declaration of nuisance ordinance resulting from extensive queuing at the drive-through lanes, but that was later rescinded.

In the meantime the restaurant hired a security guard to act as parking monitor, informing drivers not to block the street and either park or circle back. Employees are now outside the building with portable ordering tabs, similar to In-n-Out in an attempt to expedite service.

The project is scheduled to move forward.

Updated Chick-fil-A drive through rendering at 3707 State St. (Courtesy photo)

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Wud Sep 24, 2022 02:54 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Eventually all cars will be EV and resolve the idling pollution problem. How many cars are EV / hybrids now? The only reason gas powered car have to keep running is to move and to keep A/C running. Maybe have gas cars with A/C that works both from engine or external electrical connection from lane that moves the vehicle along ( gas engine off) until purchase is completed, then start engine and drive off. Downside: would it be worth it for horrendous expense for restaurant to implement this (auto industry as well ), and would only save a few minutes of pollution per vehicle ( lunch and dinner).

Humanitarian2003 Sep 22, 2022 04:36 PM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

We folk around the intersection of Calle Real and Turnpike have a unique neighborhood where cars are permitted to block the streets from several businesses that are all drive-throughs. Isn't it unique that we would have two large service stations that are drive-through, a car wash that often has a line out into Turnpike, an In-n-Out burger place with thirty or so carloads of people sitting idling their motors waiting for their burgers, fries, and drinks, and now a Chicken Sandwich place famous for long lines of hungry people sitting in their running cars, waiting for their chance to eat that chicken. Oh, lest I forget, the long line of cars on Calle Real looking for their coffee fix, also with their cars contributing to the air quality. What a great intersection to just hang out on, breathing the air! What did we do to earn six drive-throughs with maybe a hundred cars all idling while their drivers and passengers sit on their butts waiting. No wonder we are saddled with the greatest climatic changes in recorded history.

Babycakes Sep 23, 2022 09:51 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Human....2003: Not only do the folks in your neighborhood have to live with all the issues that you listed, but the24/7/365 non-stop pollution generated on the 101 Freeway. I am a big fan of CFA, but completely agree that the gas stations, hotel, car wash, and soon to be three drive-in food/drink businesses is a bit much. My suggestion is to install a whole-house HEPA air-filtration system. Not that expensive, and certainly worth the investment if you own your own home.

Ahlia Sep 22, 2022 10:42 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Creekmoe : Seriously ? You think that the city should make an already overcrowded State Street down to one lane ? Then ban ALL bicycles AND pedestrians to side streets (of which there are very few) to accomodate a bad design which never should have been approved in the 1st place ? !!! We should negatively impact ALL in favor of "ONE BUSINESS" ? !!! ... I think perhaps you should smoke a little less weed before you make ridiculous comments like these :-)

CreekMoe Sep 22, 2022 10:19 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Adding a traffic monitor at the entrance to wave off the backup cars
was overdo. Or Parking Lots in LA just put a sign up saying 'FULL". So
new arrivals keep moving on. Around the block.

Same backlog happens at other Chick Fil A locations. And they all use
the roving menu people. Or most of the Chik Fil A sites have the "problem"
with being so good and popular. Espeially after Covid.

Same traffic jams happen with In N Out Burger sites. Which also have a big
fan base.

But other cities solved the problem more easily than SB.

They just made one lane a turn lane. Or City could make State
Street one lane at the Car Wash. ie an Egress Lane. And ban the
bike traffic to side streets for safety. Ditto with pedestrians.
ie the non customers in the area.

Same idea as the HOA lane theory.

Just need to do it for a few hours a day. Mainly for Lunch?

But never on Sunday.


Chevy67 Sep 22, 2022 10:17 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

I've tried their sandwiches a few times to try and understand all the fuss. I still don't get it. I found their bread soggy, chicken greasy, and overall sandwich dry. The sauce is ok.

a-1663863646 Sep 22, 2022 09:20 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

My brain can't comprehend how there is room for all of this new design there but, I welcome it. I hope it fixes the dangerous problem. Thanks for no help in the meantime, SBPD.

a-1663887177 Sep 22, 2022 03:52 PM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

9:20: "Chick-fil-A will remove vegetation and shift the lanes closer to the building. The driveway entrance is 32 feet and will expand to 42 feet. This would also involve moving handicapped parking spaces to the other side of the restaurant. The plan is to remove 16 on-site parking spaces to make way for the pass through lane around the site. They plan to increase the number bike parking spots from two to eight." Noozhawk

doulie Sep 22, 2022 12:06 PM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

I see where the far right (3d lane) will help move some cars off State Street, how many and whether or not it will solve the back up on State remains to be seen. What will be the order of cars exiting onto State Street? Three lanes merge into one to exit?

Interesting the just as important exit plan was not documented.

Gimli Sep 22, 2022 09:09 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

I don't particularly care for chicken, and I have tried Chick-fil-A once. It is way overrated. Here's an idea, how about someone starting a fast food Middle Eastern Restaurant, and put it there? I do enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine. Ladhidh!!

CoastWatch Sep 22, 2022 02:12 PM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

@ MARCELK- I wish I could go along with your "Group-Think", but last I checked, we still lived in a free country where differing ideas and opinions still matter.... Unlike our current College's and Universities... I ain't cancelled YET.

a-1663860396 Sep 22, 2022 08:26 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Went yesterday, first time in 3-4 months. Grilled chicken salad-Yum. The haters on this thread should just try the food. May change their opinion. Glad a second location is in the works! BTW the guards work all around the parking and entryways keeping traffic flowing. No cars in the street. I was there at 12 noon and it was very organised and efficient. The kids working there, and I counted 15 just outside all are in good spirits and enjoy the vibe working there it seems.

Babycakes Sep 22, 2022 07:25 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

It is amazing that despite any perceived shortcomings, CFA continues to generate eye-popping profits. The numbers are based on a 6-day per week schedule, which is absolutely incredible if you know anything about the FF business. Not everyone is going to like your product, and not everyone is going to like your politics....but the one thing all investors like is profit. For me, I simply like their chicken and their lemonade. Someone mentioned Del Taco, but they have been in/out of court due to various infractions such as sexual harassment. McDonalds problem in the news these days: collecting employee biometric data without their consent. Starbuck' of court...diversity issues in management. Boycott the company if it makes you feel better, but do not expect to convince others differently, especially if they love/crave/desire/want/prefer a certain FF chain such as CFA.

Side Note: I'm pretty sure that Char West was originally called 'Link's Drive-In', the first location was at the corner of State & Arlington (where Carlitos is today)....Zardo's 76 Gas Station across the street.

mm1970 Sep 22, 2022 09:32 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

My spouse was there picking up food last week and said that it started to back up (this was dinner time) into the road. The security guard went to 3-4 cars that were in line and said ... something ... to them (who knows what?) but they all pulled away and went out the exit, allowing waiting cars to enter. Enquiring minds! Did they get a free coupon? Did they place an order and promise to loop around? Spouse had placed an order for pickup.

ljmdance Sep 22, 2022 08:35 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

EXACTLY, and also needed at the insanely ridiculous location of the drive-through Starbucks ADJACENT to the 101NB offramp AND the Turnpike/Calle Real intersection. Absolutely unbelievable that this was permitted!

GeneralTree Sep 21, 2022 08:21 PM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

The chicken isn't that good and it's overpriced. The owner of the company used to openly contribute to anti-LGBTQ hate groups and only stopped for PR reasons. Not sure how a private security guard is going to control traffic on a public street. Chik-Fil-A has been a bad corporate citizen in SB - you really think this is going to improve or it's just to appease the city temporarily. I'd rather have a Popeye's chicken in town.

bicyclist Sep 22, 2022 09:25 AM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

GT - my reference was from:
6-10-2022 @3:39PM
I was amazed at myself for actually remembering who had initially brought it up...
I could have sworn that remembering something from 3 months ago was not within my grasp...

Babycakes Sep 21, 2022 06:29 PM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Wow....looks like a very efficient design indeed (with all of the extra lanes). The new location will definitely take some of the traffic heat away from their State Street location, which should make most everyone happy/satisfied. I'll probably only go to the original location when the new spot opens up. However, I am in that general vicinity about five times a week and will give it a go once they get things rolling. I still hear "on the street" that there will be a third location on lower Milpas St., which would be a great addition to that area (jobs, jobs, and Sunday's off!).

FondofSB Sep 22, 2022 08:23 PM
Chick-fil-A's New Proposed Drive-Thru Gets High Marks

Chico : You're right !
Most (if not all) of the haters hate the company for reasons which have nothing to do with their business. Simply because they're not woke and if you're not woke nowadays you should be disposed off according to the "great liberal society" whose idea of "freedom of speech" means : "you better say only what "we" want to hear or you're shut off" as happens now in our "great" "freedom of speech" universities.
Reality is : this company creates a lot of business, which is good for society, they employ a lot of young kids, giving them their first step in a promising life, and if you do go there (which most of the haters have not) you'll see that those kids are all smiling, happy, and pleased to be in such a sustaining organization. That changes quite a bit from the attitude and behavior of quite a few other kids !
But all this obviously bothers much of the "woke" crowd ..

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