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Dread dining out with kids? Chick-fil-A's 'Mom's Valet' may be your saving grace

A concept being implemented by Chick-fil-A franchise owners is making mealtime much easier for families with young kids.
/ Source: TODAY

Scott Brickhouse remembers the struggle of feeding his four boys on nights when he cared for them alone.

He would often grab drive-thru and they’d eat it in the car, everyone strapped in their seats. That’s when the owner of two Chick-fil-As in Lakewood, Florida, conceived the idea of Mom’s Valet, a service that makes it easier for parents to order and enjoy their food.

“It is an immediate success with moms,” Brickhouse told TODAY.

Mom's Valet works like this: When parents come through the drive-thru and order, they can request Mom’s Valet. The staff then jumps into action, preparing the order, finding a table, setting it, putting the needed number of highchairs out, filling drinks, doling out the right condiments and putting the food on the table. When the parent arrives in the store with kids in tow, the hostess directs them to their seats.

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Brickhouse started the program four years ago and as soon as other franchise owners heard about it, they became interested. The program, which is not implemented by corporate, slowly grew, finally reaching 100 stores. Brickhouse says there are at least another 125 to 150 stores interested in it.

“It’s really fun to be a part of something that I helped design,” Brickhouse said. "It feels great."

Marise Brennan takes her 2-year-old daughter to Chick-fil-A more than any other fast food restaurant. While her location doesn’t offer Mom’s Valet, she loves the idea.

“It is hard to balance getting a drink and not spilling things and getting a table and carrying your tray,” says the mom, who lives in Etters, Pennsylvania.

“We would go in and spend time there and possibly spend more money if it was an easier process,” Brennan said.

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About three years ago, Sarah Cornett noticed the Chick-fil-A near her house in Orlando offered Mom’s Valet and it immediately made dinners with her young children much easier.

“It’s extremely convenient,” she says. “To have someone kind of serve you, to be willing to do something for you, to be doing a little bit of extra assistance…it’s an extremely nice service.”