Rocky DeStefano is celebrating the opening of his second Chick-fil-A restaurant at 3365 Hammock Ridge Road, Clermont on Wednesday, January 9 and is inviting residents to join in the opening festivities and register to participate in the Chick-fil-A First 100 Road Trip.
How The 100 First Road Trip Works: On January 8 the First 100 Road Trip will provide an impactful experience for up to 100 adult participants, who will be transported on chartered buses for a daylong interactive and service field trip. The event fulfills DeStefano’s passion to continue making a difference in the Clermont community before he opens the doors of his second restaurant.
Registration begins Tuesday, January 8 at the restaurant at 6 am and will continue until 8:30 am or when 100 people are registered, whichever comes first. The event will last through approximately 4 pm that day. Up to 100 participating adults will win a year of free Chick-fil-a meals (52 meals) consisting of a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, medium waffle potato fries and a medium beverage.
The community event is open to guests living in an eligible zip code. A complete set of rules are found at.
Rocky discribes his new restaurant
The nearly 5,000-square-foot restaurant has been designed to enhance all aspects of a guest’s experience, from the drive-thru, to the counter, to in-restaurant dining. Highlights include a dining room that seats 115 with a vintage-inspired interior, including a large gathering table made from reclaimed wood, light fixtures from recycled Coca-Cola bottles and peach baskets, and an interactive two-story, indoor play area.
Six designated mobile orders parking spaces will fulfill mobile orders, along with a designated inside pickup counter for Chick-fil-A mobile orders.
The two-lane drive-thru features climate-controlled canopies, first in Lake County, for face-to-face ordering, with lanes merging into a single pick-up point that can hold 30 cars at one time.
The full-service restaurant is open 6 am to 10 pm daily except Sunday. Breakfast is available from 6 am until 10:30 am.
With three decades of Chick-fil-A experience and continued success over the years, DeStefano is enjoying the rare honor of being a multi-unit Operator. In addition to the Hammock Ridge and Hwy 50/Hancock Chick-fil-A locations, DeStefano also has been the Operator Consultant to the Orlando International Airport licensee location since 2002.
The DeStefano family have been a part of Clermont for nearly 15 years and look forward to expanding their service outreach in the community they love and call home. Those efforts were recognized in 2017 when he was named Citizen of the Year by the Southlake Chamber of Commerce who will be assisting with the 9 am ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 9 for his new restaurant.
“It is a dream come true to operate two locations in our thriving Clermont community which will enable us to better serve our guests,” said DeStefano. “I am committed to developing my Team Members as together we provide a remarkable experience to our guests who become part of our family.”
About Rocky DeStefano
Rocky DeStefano moved from Cleveland to Naples, FL in high school, and at 16 years old was hired as a Chick-fil-A team member at Coastland Center Mall.
He was awarded a Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship to attend Berry College in Rome, Ga. and graduated with a degree in psychology and political science. During that time, he worked at the Chick-fil-A at Riverbend Mall where he met his wife, Tricia, who would become a huge contributor to his now nearly 25-year success as an Operator in Florida.
DeStefano went on to study law on a scholarship with a dual enrollment at the University of Miami and St. Thomas University. It was during his internships that DeStefano realized that although he loved law he did not want to be an attorney.
He turned his career thoughts to what he did enjoy — working at Chick-fil-A. He was accepted into the company’s interim manager program in 1992 and managed restaurants across the country. His dream was realized in 1994 when he was named franchise Operator of the new Altamonte Springs Drive-Thru restaurant, followed by a transfer in 1997 to operate the new Lake Buena Vista restaurant. In 2004, the DeStefano family made their last move to Clermont to open the city’s first location and to settle down to raise their three daughters. In fact, his oldest daughter, Ashley, who was married over the holidays, just graduated in hospitality and will be serving as his marketing director.
Just as DeStefano was impacted by receiving one of the company’s scholarships, thousands of Chick-fil-A team members are being impacted annually by Chick-fil-A’s Remarkable Futures education initiative. This year alone more than 5,700 Team Members including two awarded at DeStefano’s restaurant, were awarded with $14.65 million in scholarships, a $5.7 million increase from 2017. Team Members are awarded scholarships in the amount of $2,500 to $25,000 that can be applied for any area of study at any accredited institution. In addition, all of Chick-fil-A’s 120,000 Team Members have access to tuition discounts and other educational benefits at 100 colleges and universities nationwide.
While still accepting applications at his new location to add to his combined team of 180 employees, DeStefano’s mentoring efforts around developing his Team Members has resulted in four of them becoming Operators and the awarding of $80,000 in scholarships. His longevity as an Operator in Clermont has been matched by six on his leadership team. They have been with him since his opening – resulting in nearly 90 years of combined experience. His focus around his team and making customers feel like family has led to the transplant of Mr. Lynn Locuson, who regularly traveled from New Jersey to visit his grandchildren in the area and promised DeStefano that he would come to work for him when he retired. Six years ago, he fulfilled that goal and until recently, worked alongside his two grandsons at the restaurant before they moved onto full-time career pursuits. At the young age of 82, Mr. Lynn, as he is known, quickly became a customer favorite. To the point, that DeStefano plans to schedule him at both restaurants so there is not a customer uprising from not being able to see Mr. Lynn.