The Washington Post

Chick-fil-A muscles into the D.C. food truck scene

Chick-fil-A used its name recognition — and a lot of freebies — to attract hundreds of customers today. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

But then one of the 11 — yes, 11, by my count — employees in or around the Chick-fil-A truck told me that they strive to have lunch in your hands within 30 seconds after you place an order. This was a dare that not even a pro-gay-rights liberal could ignore.

I placed an order for a chicken sandwich ($4.50 for a battered and fried slab of breast meat, which packs so much sodium it should come with its own beta blockers), coleslaw ($2, for a sugary side of ultra-minced cabbage that could be listed as a dessert) and chips ($1, more salt). Then I started chatting up one of the 11 employees, whose main responsibility, it seemed, was to pass out freebies and make customers feel better about ignoring the other trucks around the square.

The Chick-fil-A sandwich comes with a lot of sodium — and a side of marketing pitches. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Chick-fil-A has entered the D.C. food truck scene not to squash and dishearten the competition — or so said employee No. 1 who told me the corporate Chick-wagon wants to work with local mobile vendors — but to bring a taste of Chick-fil-A to the District. The nation’s capital, it appears, has only one lonely outlet within its borders, and that is a limited-hour location at Catholic University.

The net effect, however, was a total domination of the food truck scene at Farragut today, even though the Chick-fil-A vehicle had to delay its debut for a serious design change. Around 1:45 p.m. this afternoon, employee No. 1 told me that Chick-fil-A already had served about 400 meals, clearly leveraging its status as the No. 1 fast-food chain, according to a Zagat survey last year.

One wonders whether the brick-and-mortar community doesn’t take some warped satisfaction in seeing a fast-food chain, known for its sit-down service, beating the local food trucks at their own game.

Further reading:

* Chick-fil-A prepares D.C. food truck launch

* Chick-fil-A food truck coming to Washington in April

* Juice Joint reopens and other restaurant news

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse.


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