On a rainy February 16, Chick-fil-A opened the doors to its brand-new rest stop concept catering to delivery workers in New York City. The Brake Room, located at 1477 Third Avenue between East 83rd and 84th streets, is a limited-time pop-up where the city’s 65,000-plus food-service workers can go to use the bathroom, charge their phone, use Wi-Fi and enjoy free beverages in a comfortable lounge setting.
“In metro areas like New York City, we see the same food delivery workers come through nearly every day of the week, several times a day, and how taking an extra second to warm up between deliveries or offering a glass of water helps to fuel them on for their shift,” said Jared Caldwell, owner of the Chick-fil-A just minutes from The Brake Room at 1536 Third Ave. between East 86th and 87th streets. “The food delivery community helps to power our businesses, and this is just our small way of showing appreciation for all they do.”
The Brake Room is currently slated to run from February 16 through Thursday, April 13. From Monday through Saturday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., delivery workers for DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, Caviar and Seamless just need to show they’ve made a recent delivery to a Brake Room staff member for entry.
“This worked out today, with the weather” said Richard Vázquez, a delivery worker who was unlocking his bike outside after a stop at The Brake Room. “It’s nice inside,” commented Vázquez, who went on to say that Chick-fil-A has also been great with giving him free food when he comes in to pick up deliveries sometimes. “They ask how you’re doing.”
This pop-up break room is very “on brand” for Chick-fil-A, which has been winning customers over for years with quality food served with great manners. “Even with more competition, Chick-fil-A continues to differentiate itself through hospitality and customer service. This pairs well with having the best marketing strategy in the industry,” wrote Movia in a September story detailing the quick-service restaurant’s growth and strategy.
“Every day, Chick-fil-A operators look to show care for their team members and the communities in which their restaurants are located,” added Joe Saracino, senior vice president of brand strategy, advertising and media at Chick-fil-A. “The food delivery community is an extension of the same experience Chick-fil-A restaurants provide our guests, and an increasingly significant part of the business. We created The Brake Room as a small gesture, a little thing to thank them for all they do to serve our guests, especially in a market experiencing high demand in sometimes harsh winter weather conditions.”
The timing of The Brake Room is also noteworthy, as New York City is currently in the thick of evaluating decommissioned newsstands they can turn into e-bike charging hubs and rest stops. In a recent Community Board 7 Transportation Committee meeting on the Upper West Side, a resolution was passed against placing a hub by the south entrance of the 72nd Street subway station due to it already being a high-traffic area.
While The Brake Room may be a temporary pop-up, Chick-fil-A is providing a bit of a blueprint on what others might want to consider as “best practices” for helping delivery workers in New York City who provide an invaluable service, rain or shine.
Chick-fil-A is planning a second Upper East Side location at East 80th and Second Avenue.