NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — The wait is over for people in two West Michigan cities with a taste for chicken. Chick-fil-A opens two new locations Thursday morning in Kalamazoo and Norton Shores. 

The restaurants will be limited to drive thru or curbside pickup until at least Feb. 1 but the owners don’t believe they will be any less busy in the long run. 

Unlike most grand openings for the fried chicken franchise, lines of tents are not encompassing the building — they have made changes to their plans so they can have a larger impact on the communities they will soon serve.

It’s called the Chick-fil-A First 100 because the first 100 customers typically receive vouchers for a free chicken sandwich every week for a year. 

Instead, owners at both the Norton Shores and Kalamazoo locations have opted to share that gift with someone else, frontline workers. 

“We just hope that this is just a small token of the appreciation of not only Chick-fil-A and my family but hopefully just an appreciation for them that they feel from the community in general for the work they’ve been doing over the past year,” owner and operator of the Norton Shores Chick-fil-A Matt Lewis said. “It’s a tremendous blessing for my family and me. We’re just so thankful to be able to be a part of this community and really thankful to give back.”

The Norton Shores location donated the vouchers Wednesday to front line heroes at one of the hardest hit hospitals in West Michigan, Mercy Health Muskegon. 

The hospital has dealt with a surge of COVID-19 patients and has been at or barely below capacity for weeks. 

“These gifts truly make a difference. Our colleagues obviously, they choose to go into the health care profession — they never anticipated the challenges that they’ve had to endure,” Chief Philanthropy Officer for Mercy Health Claudine Weber said. “When they receive gifts like these and this generosity from our community it really does, it lifts them up. It’s kind of like the community embracing them and thanking them for all that they’re doing; it truly makes a difference.”

The new Chick-fil-A in Kalamazoo donated 100 vouchers to doctors and nurses at Bronson Methodist Hospital. The restaurant chain also donated $50,000 to food banks across the region.

The Chick-fil-A location in Norton Shores is located at 5607 Harvey Street, across the street from the Lakes Mall. It’s the first location in Muskegon County.

Chick-fil-A Kalamazoo Main Street in Kalamazoo is located on 504 N. Drake Road.