Only a short time ago the city of Fallujah served as stronghold for insurgents. Daily skirmishes, improvised explosive device detonations and public unease made operating a business in the city very difficult.
Today, with improved security throughout the region, the low price of 4,000 dinar, or $3.50, will purchase a full meal at the recently established Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Hey Al Dubat area of the city.
The KFC is the first to open for business in the city. Before improved conditions in the city, insurgents threatened business owners, demanding money to support acts of terrorism.
After a quick visit to the Fallujah Business Center during routine operations July 16, Marines with Regimental Combat Team 1″™s Security Platoon and with Information Operations, talked with employees at the franchise to evaluate its success.
“We stopped to check up on the KFC to see how things were going,” said 1st Lt. Michael C. Bryant, platoon commander with Battery M, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, RCT 1. “You can tell that the area is returning to normal, especially when you see fast food places in the area doing so well.”
The restaurant has several employees, and three that work full time. Employees there serve an average 25 customers per day.
The Marines often take time to assess economic progress and gauge community activities during missions in the city.
After several short conversations with employees and patrons, the Marines ordered food to take back to Camp Fallujah for lunch.
“I think it is awesome to see a business doing so well in Fallujah, and not have to worry about safety or corruption,” said Bryant, a 25-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colo.
Security over the past several years has reached an all-time high in Fallujah and many of the surrounding areas. The increase can be accredited to coalition forces conducting patrols and security missions, as well as Iraqi police and Iraqi army retaking control of a majority of the Anbar region.
“I remember when I was here last in July 2004 and things were much different than they are now,” said Sgt. Steve J. Arnoux, a 25-year-old vehicle commander from Browning, Mont. “When we would go out on convoys in the city, the attitude was a lot different. It seemed like we were just waiting to get ambushed. Now we stop at KFC.”
Citizens of the area can now work steady jobs, where as prior conditions kept many from even coming to work on a daily basis.
“I love the work here, because we have the opportunity to go to work every day,” said a KFC employee.
By Cpl. Chris T. Mann
Regimental Combat Team 1 Public Affairs Office