If you are hankering for some famous Bojangles’ chicken and biscuits, the wait is finally over, as the new Hinesville location opened for business this past week.
The eatery opened to the public on Monday and celebrated its official ribbon cutting Thursday to much fanfare and long lines of customers eager to sample the expansive menu of biscuits, sandwiches, wraps and, of course, chicken.
"The big day was actually opening day on Monday. That is when we introduced ourselves to Hinesville," franchisee Gilbert Straub said. "I looked forward to the ribbon cutting because it is going to let other people know that we are here and ready to serve the community. We’ve had a great response from the local community. The employees are doing a fantastic job. The customers have been extremely nice, and any little hiccups that we’ve had, the people have been nice and patient. As far as I’m concerned, it’s been an excellent opening."
Straub said he and Matt Cain, general manager and operating partner, chose Hinesville because they heard great things about the city.
"We were working our other locations in Port Wentworth, Pooler and DeRenne Avenue, and people kept asking us to bring one to Hinesville, saying it would be a good location for us," Straub said. "We came down and looked at the area, and we also thought it would be a good location for us. We’ve been steady since we’ve opened. We’ve had lines at the front counter … pretty consistent from about 10 in the morning to 10 at night."
Cain added that the Hinesville Bojangles’ is a dream come true.
"For me, this is a new beginning," he said. "My first restaurant. I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 20 years, but this is my first opportunity as an operating partner. It’s incredible …. I’ve been in the area for a while, and this was my dream spot to have a restaurant. … I knew it was going to be a home run."
Cain was formerly in the Navy and has been in Hinesville since 2002. He said he once worked with Gary Dodd as they opened the McDonald’s location just up the street from his new Bojangles’ on West Oglethorpe Highway.
He said that he is excited for the opportunity to own a stake in the business. Cain said he and Straub received nearly 500 applications and interviewed about 400 before narrowing the list and hiring about 110.
"We trained for a week, and I’ve been pretty impressed so far," he said. "The customers here are a delight, and our employee base here is incredible. It was tough selecting the staff here. … I wanted to hire a lot more because there are so many qualified candidates in this area."
During Thursday’s ribbon cutting, members of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce came out in support of the new restaurant. Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown met with the owners, offering them well wishes and congratulations.
Liberty County Board of Commissioners Chairman Donald Lovette welcomed the new business.
"We are so honored to have a Bojangles’ here," Lovette said. "This spot has been vacant for a lot of years, and you’ve filled it up with a nice-looking establishment…"