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

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a declaration of nuisance ordinance resulting from extensive queuing at the drive-through lanes, but that was later rescinded.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)

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. 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.

  2. 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’s….in/out 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 🙂

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