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A restaurant's grand opening has created a tent village in St. Cloud


When you're hungry it feels good to eat. And that's sometimes especially true when the food you're eating is free.

The folks behind Chick-Fil-A restaurants seem to understand that. The first 100 people in line at their brand new St. Cloud restaurant will be rewarded with coupons for 52 free meals at the Atlanta-based chain famous for its chicken sandwiches.

Which explains the tents that started popping up in the parking lot outside Crossroads Center mall on Wednesday morning.

Occupying the prime roost outside Chick-Fil-A's door is a man named Scott Middendorf, who tells WJON he arrived a little before 3 a.m. – 27 hours before the store's opening.

Middendorf tells the station he bought a new tent for the summer camping season but didn't use it until this Chick-Fil-A campout.

Grand opening giveaways are common for Chick-Fil-A

Dangling free meals for those willing to camp out in front of their new stores is actually par for the course at Chick-Fil-A.

The campouts have become more common in Minnesota over the last few years as the chain steps up its presence in the state.

Chick-Fil-A skipped the giveaway, though, when its first St. Cloud location opened a couple of days ago. It's in the student union at St. Cloud State University.

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The company's founder opened a restaurant called Dwarf Grill in Hapeville, Georgia, in 1946, its website says.

It didn't become Chick-Fil-A until the 1960s when it found a niche at new shopping malls in Atlanta's suburbs. Now there are more than 2,000 Chick-Fil-As around the country and they sold $6 billion worth of food last year, the company says.

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