Detroit woman says patience was the key to making dream of operating Chick-fil-A site a reality

Vikki Hardy Brown is a Detroiter who had the education and experience to operate her very own Chick-fil-A restaurant.

But she found out what she needed most was patience to make her dream a reality and as it turned out, that would pay off big-time.

"Welcome to Chick-fil-A everybody, we have a camera here today," Hardy Brown announces at her store, located at the corner of Middlebelt and Plymouth in Livonia.

Her job is something she describes as a true labor of love.

"I have over 100 staff, that alone is a little daunting," she said.

This restaurant has been open since January of 2023, but for Hardy Brown. It really started five years earlier, as the brand was looking to expand north.

"I actually did find out that they were having an open meeting for those that were interested in Chick-fil-A , and this was before they built their first store in Michigan," she said.

At that 2016 meeting, there were 100 or more franchisee 'wanna be's' just like her - eager to get their shot with a proven brand like Chick-fil-A.

"I let them know that I was interested in the Metro Detroit market," she said. "I'm a Detroiter, I went to Cass Tech, I went the University of Michigan. I wanted to stay here, I didn't want to move my family around.

"I felt like this was a new market for them (and) that I had a good opportunity for maybe getting one here, and I was willing to wait for it."

And wait she did, five years after that meeting she found out that a restaurant was coming her way.

"I was selected in November of 2021 and opened the restaurant in January of 2023," she said.

Hardy Brown was working during that time, but also was learning as much as she could, about her new partner.

"Franchising is a partnership," she said. "You are in business with another party and you want to make sure that is the right fit for you."

Now that the partnership is in full swing, Hardy Brown is loving what she does.

"I'm here pretty much six days a week because I want to be here," she said. "And i enjoy working alongside the team members and I enjoy serving the customers. So this was a good fit for me. That's always a personal question."

Hardy Brown says it was worth the wait.

"If you are not having fun, you are not doing it right," she said. "You're supposed to have fun. We want you to have fun, we don't want you waking up and thinking that work is just drudgery."

She says the investment is a two-way street. The road she once started down back in 2016, convinced that her patience would pay off.

"This is going to be my last thing," she said. "I think this is where I'm going to reside for a while."

Now getting your own Chick-fil-A isn't easy. In 2023 alone the restaurant chain selected 112 new owner-operators nationwide. But that only represents less than one percent of those who applied to open a restaurant.