Four Points Chick-fil-A to open this month

Construction on Austin’s newest Chick-fi l-A is nearly complete and is expected to be open by late March. Franchisee Mark Ortego will be running the Four Point’s eatery with his wife Jodie and their daughter Maggie. LYNETTE HAALAND

By K.Q. THOMAS, Four Points News 

Austin’s newest Chick-fil-A is set to open in late March at RM 620 and Vista Parke Drive in The Center at Four Points, the new retail site near Home Depot. 

“We are expecting and preparing for this location to be very busy,” said Mark Ortego, owner of the franchise. “Everyone in the local community has been very welcoming to us and expressed their excitement about us opening so we want to be ready for that.”

The eatery will employ between 100 and 110 staff members, with a team of 20 to 25 trainers for the grand opening’s first two weeks. “We want to ensure the best possible experience for our guests,” said Ortego, who has been running another Chick-fil-A with his wife and daughter for 15 years.  

The new Four Points restaurant is being built using the largest free-standing Chick-fil-A design prototype in the company. The building is almost 5,000-square-feet and sits on a 1.3-acre site. 

The kitchen and dining areas are about equal size. Seating capacity is approximately 124 people with the outdoor patio. There are 69 parking spaces and a double drive-through lane that can hold up to 32 cars.  

More than 60 percent of sales come from the drive-through, he added. There will be staffers taking orders in the lines to both give a more personal experience and to send orders to the kitchen faster.

“The design of the building, parking lot, kitchen and drive through will give us maximum capacity to serve our guests in a fast and efficient manner,” Ortego said. 

For those who might not keep up with fast food news, Chick-fil-A is one of the largest eat-in/drive-through restaurants in the country. Headquartered in College Park, Ga., Chick-fil-A was originally founded as the Dwarf Grill in 1946, then became Dwarf House, before  its rebranding as Chick-fil-A in 1967. 

The company now operates more than 2,300 restaurants nationwide including 25 in the Austin market, which stretches from Georgetown to San Marcus and Marble Falls to Bastrop. The Four Points’ site will be the 27th location after a San Marcus site that will open in a few weeks. 

Ortego became the franchisee of the Chick-fil-A at North Mopac and Parmer Lane in 2005. His background prior to Chick-fil-A was in retail management, working for Sam’s Club in Houston and Office Depot in Austin in a variety of management positions. 

“While I was working at Office Depot, I became friends with Ken Massey, who is the owner and operator of two Chick-fil-A locations in South Austin, and I began asking him questions about the company and the franchisee selection process,” Ortego said. 

More than 50,000 people express interest in becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee every year and only about 100 are selected. It took Ortego two years to complete the process of becoming a franchisee. 

“I read recently that, statistically, it is easier to get into Harvard University than to become a Chick-fil-A franchisee,” he said. 

“The culture, values and business model of Chick-fil-A definitely drew me here, and the food is pretty amazing, too,” Ortego added. 

Ironically waffle fries are the top selling item followed by the original Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, which is Ortego’s personal favorite, then the nuggets round out the top three. 

Keeping up with the rapid growth of the business is challenging for all involved, he said. “We are continuously testing and trying new and innovative ways to provide the fastest and best customer experience in our restaurants with great food and genuine hospitality,” Ortego said. 

“The most rewarding thing has been seeing the personal and professional growth of our leaders and team members over the years. We invest a lot of time into training and developing our team and I am grateful to have the opportunity to play a part in that development process,” he said.

A licensed real estate professional, Ortego is a long-time Austinite. He and his wife, Jodie, have been married for 23 years and their daughter, Maggie, is a senior at Texas State University. Jodie handles all of the human resources and most of the administrative responsibilities of their franchise. Maggie is a member of the interviewing and hiring team and creates the work schedules for all employees. 

Ortego would like to eventually have multiple Chick-fil-A locations in the Austin area. But, he will be giving up the Mopac and Parmer location at the end of February. The company has strict rules as to how many restaurants can be located in one geographic location. Franchisees are allowed to own and operate up to three restaurants, provided they are in a shared trade area close together. His Mopac and Parmer location is twelve miles away from Four Points and there are two other Chick-fil-A locations in between the two restaurants. Company rules say that, with this configuration, he cannot own both the Four Points and Mopac locations. 

“I will be fully committed to the Four Points location. I definitely want to have multiple locations in the future and Four Points will provide that growth opportunity for us down the road,” Ortego said.

Chick-fil-A franchisee Mark Ortego, will be running the new Four Point’s eatery with his wife Jodie and their daughter Maggie. The kitchen area is about the same size as the dining area in the 5,000-square-foot building. LYNETTE HAALAND