New Novato Chick-fil-A to employ up to 70

NOVATO -- More than 100 people camped in the parking lot of the Bay Area's newest Chick-fil-A restaurant to be among the first inside when the doors opened in Novato at 6 a.m. Thursday, winning a year's worth of the chicken sandwich fast-food restaurant's fare.

The new restaurant at 35 Rowland Way will employ up to 70 people and is still hiring, according to a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based chain.

A seven-year Chick-fil-A veteran Danny Goepp is operating Novato’s first Chick-fil-A. For the past two and a half years, he has traveled the U.S., supervising restaurant openings. A University of Georgia graduate in finance, he first became interested in pursuing the Chick-fil-A operator opportunity while working at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Athens, Ga.

He has extended family living in Marin County.

The Novato location seats 102 and features the chain’s latest interior design. It is one of 88 new restaurants the chain plans to open across the country in 2014, creating more than 6,600 new jobs. Chick-fil-A continued to grow in 2013, increasing the number of new restaurants initially planned for the year and reporting record-setting annual sales of more than $5 billion, the 47th consecutive year of sales growth since the company began in 1967.

The chain's "First 100" campaign gives gift cards worth up to $32,000 in food to the first 100 adults inside the door the day a location opens. People traveled from throughout the Bay Area and as far away as Sacramento and San Juan Capistrano to have a chance at one of the cards.

The restaurant provides entertainment, games, dancing and Chick-fil-A food as patrons waited in camp chairs and tents.

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