The grand opening of McAlister’s Deli in Fort Worth drew a crowd of customers to the restaurant Monday morning with the promise of free sweet tea and fresh sandwiches.
The first 50 customers who lined up outside the restaurant were awarded a $100 gift card to use for future visits. Senior Beau Tiongson said the prospect was tempting, but it meant he and his friends had to line up at the crack of dawn.
“We’ve been driving by and checking since like 10:00 last night, but we came out here at 4:45 this morning,” he said. “We knew it was going to be like a domino effect, so whenever the first person came everyone else was going to come.”
As customers began lining up outside, employees made sure to keep them hydrated in the August heat. McAlister's provided their infamous sweet tea in cups adorned with special TCU logos.
Assistant manager Jordan Harris said there were several of McAlister’s locations nearby; however, none were located in Fort Worth. Customers had to drive to Arlington or Weatherford to reach the nearest location.
“We capitalized on our opportunity here and luckily we struck gold on this location,” Harris said.
The franchise was brought to Fort Worth by The Saxton Group, Kirk Lanier, president of The Saxton Group, said. The group specialized in developing and expanding franchises such as McAlister's. So far, the group has opened McAlister’s Delis in 50 locations across four states.
Lanier said this location would be the first in Texas to serve breakfast.
“We feel like there’s a unique dynamic right here on the campus, and there’s a lot of foot traffic in the morning,” Lanier said. “Kids are kind of out and got to get their coffee, after maybe a late night of studying.”
Harris said McAlister’s will also serve coffee from Avoca Roastery & Espresso Lounge, a local coffeehouse. Avoca's brewery is located in Fort Worth’s “Near Southside” district, where the coffee will be brewed and then delivered to the deli.
Aside from the food and infamous tea, Lanier said hospitality sets McAlister’s apart from other restaurants. He said students would be the target customers, but hoped a variety of patrons would visit.
“We have a lot of fun taking care of people,” he said. “We’re very excited about Fort Worth as a whole.”