Chick-fil-A update: Batesville running behind in market testing, public response needed

Published 3:48 pm Thursday, December 2, 2021

Results of test marketing outreaches by the owners of the Oxford Chik-fil-A franchise indicate that Batesville and Panola County residents are buying lots of chicken when the food truck is here, but not as much as the people in other cities that are also part of the research effort.

Chik-fil-A is currently conducting, or planning, tests in several other North Mississippi markets, including Grenada, New Albany, Senatobia, and Clarksdale. Earlier this week after testing in Grenada Chik-fil-A shared information with Batesville officials reflecting that their food truck had its highest day of sales ever.

Batesville’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen made a special exception two weeks ago to allow Chik-fil-A to conduct research here in hopes of convincing the company to locate a restaurant in Batesville. Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar addressed the board on behalf of Chik-fil-A, telling city officials that landing a restaurant in Batesville would be a major economic development tool for future growth.

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“People, and lots of them, will exit the interstate when they see a Chik-fil-A and all economic developers know this because so many studies have been done,” Azar said. “When a Chik-fil-A builds a restaurant in your town you can expect other major brands to start showing interest in your location. Chik-fil-A does such a great job with their research that other businesses in the same industry, and other national retail brands, follow their lead when looking for places to expand. It’s vital for us to make a real impression on Chik-fil-A by fully supporting the food truck when we have the opportunity.”

Azar said much of his enthusiasm for Batesville getting a Chik-fil-A is the boost that existing retailers will experience by the sheer increase in traffic, and potential customers, a brick-and-mortar store would bring.

“All of our local businesses would have an increased opportunity to get their products and services in front of potential buyers, and that’s the ultimate goal. We want every business to thrive and a Chik-fil-A location would be a draw that all of the county could benefit from,” Azar said.

The Chik-fil-A food truck will be in Batesville on Friday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again Monday, Dec. 6, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Lowe’s parking lot on Hwy. 6E will be the location for both days.

“If the people of Batesville want a Chik-fil-A then now is the time to show the corporate decision makers that we are serious about getting a store here, and the best way to do that is buying every piece of chicken they bring Friday and again Monday,” Azar said.

The Partnership will continue to work closely with Chick-fil-A and city officials, Azar said, adding that Mayor Hal Ferrell, the city aldermen, and the county’s board of supervisors are working together closely on the Chick-fil-A project.

“Every one of our elected officials have shown phenomenal support in this economic development effort and that’s what it takes with a project of this magnitude,” he said.