Community supports Chik-fil-A’s response to younger patrons


Staff Photo

Royersford’s Chik-Fil-A, seen here in Limerick Square Shopping Center, limited the accessibility of the store to those under the age of 16 this winter due to alleged behavior issues.

Sam McVey, Editor-in-Chief

For years, the Limerick Square Shopping Center has served as a hub for Royersford consumers.

From large chains to hometown favorites, establishments there are frequented at a rate indicative of the area’s 21st century economic boom.

However, eruptions of chaos in the nearby Chick-fil-A, and the surrounding area, are leaving some patrons feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome.

The culprits, the restaurant alleges, are middle-schoolers from a nearby trampoline park. Following an adrenaline-filled bounce session, they appear to be refueling at the Chick-fil-A — but between each bite, they’re allegedly hurling obscenities, throwing food, and disrespecting employees in a fashion wholly opposite to the environment the community and business is striving for.

In a statement posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Chick-fil-A’s management team articulated their concerns and announced how they’d be countering the increasingly dire circumstances – a new restriction on children below 16 unaccompanied by an adult.

“This is not a pleasant experience,” the Facebook message stated. “We want to provide a comfortable and safe environment for our guests and our staff, and also to protect our building. Therefore, we cannot allow this to continue. As a result, to dine in our restaurant, anyone under the age of 16 is required to be accompanied by an adult. If not accompanied by an adult, they may come in to purchase food, but must take it to go.

“To those unaccompanied children and teens that have visited us and acted appropriately, we thank you. But we also apologize. Due to the numerous extreme behaviors of many of your peers, we must make a blanket rule covering anyone under the age of 16.”

The announcement was mostly met with positive receptions by community members, who left hundreds of online messages of support. Many blamed offenders’ parents, claiming that new-age parenting styles encourage children to push the limits of basic decency.

Nearby stores are also applauding the decision, stressing the poor behavior of the local teens. The story even made headlines across the country, receiving coverage from CBS and ABC at the national level. Other regional news outlets, like the Miami Herald, have also run stories on the new policy.

Such reporting may seem trivial — after all, it’s just a singular Chick-fil-A — but many are looking at this as a generational issue, citing the incident as a microcosm for the lack of discipline exhibited by Generation Z.

Eyewitnesses have also shared a similar sentiment.

“They just run around there and they scared one of our customers so bad that she actually called the police,” Jill D’Blasc, the manager of Norman’s Hallmark store in Royersford, told 6ABC Action News.

While the move was controversial, it has had an immediate impact, patrons say.

“I haven’t really noticed anything,” said Michael Bahr, a Spring-Ford junior and Chick-fil-A customer. “There hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary anytime I’ve been there.”