Cotswold Chick-fil-A could be replaced with drive-thru only restaurant

CHARLOTTE — A busy Charlotte Chick-fil-A may be demolished and replaced with a drive-thru-only restaurant.

The fast-food restaurant located in Cotswold off Randolph Road is in an area that’s always clogged with traffic. A line of cars coming from two directions is known to spill out onto Randolph Road.

“I want to bring cars off of Randolph,” said Andre Harakas, the manager at Chick-fil-A. “I want to consistently try to do that. That’s what we are trying to do here.”

Renderings of the project show the new Chick-fil-A will not have indoor dining. Instead, it would have just a drive-thru and an outdoor patio.

It wouldn’t be the first Chick-fil-A in the area that doesn’t allow indoor dining. The restaurant on Woodlawn Road, across from Park Road Shopping Center, was approved for the format in 2019 and operates as a drive-thru only.

The proposed Chick-fil-A would have 85% of the building dedicated to kitchen space to be more efficient.

There will also be two dedicated lanes for food pickup instead of the current operation of having two lanes merge into one.

Charlotte City Council held a public hearing Monday night on the Cotswold project.

The dining room is temporarily closed, so the restaurant is already drive-thru only right now. But the idea that it could be permanent doesn’t sit well with Mullen.

“I think it’s important to have space for families to come and enjoy their food, you know,” Mullen said. “My daughter’s dying to go in and go on the playground. So I think it would be better if they had two options.”

Councilman Braxton Winston is skeptical and said the part of Cotswold is going to intensify over time and it would send the wrong message to approve a drive-thru-only location.

“I hope we don’t push this through because it would be the wrong land use for this community, Winston said.

Council members Dimple Ajmera and LaWana Mayfield were also skeptical of the plan

Councilman Tariq Bokhari is in favor of it, praising Chick-fil-A’s ability to innovate.

Channel 9 has reported on traffic concerns from neighbors in this area. In September, the city council approved hundreds of new apartments in that area behind Publix near Randolph Road.

Some customers, including Kelley Mullen, are not excited about the drive-thru idea.

“There’s always a line constantly here because it’s just to be drive-thru only and I think that’s like a big problem,” she said.

Gloria Paz said she’s afraid it’ll only get worse if the proposal goes through.

“It’s very bad, especially in the morning and lunchtime,” she said. “I don’t know why they just won’t open the inside of the restaurant.”

While nothing is finalized yet, Mullen hopes the Charlotte City Council will take the community’s feedback into consideration.

“I’m hoping that they listen to the community,” Mullen said. “And if they can come down and look at the line constantly that’s here, and how dangerous it is for cars and stuff like that.”

The Charlotte City Council may vote as soon as next month.

(WATCH BELOW: Highway Patrol recruiters head to NC Chick-fil-A restaurants to fill trooper positions)