Chick-fil-A’s President Dan Cathy’s anti-gay marriage remarks in an interview have sparked a furor with people taking to social media to express their resentment and asking to boycott the franchise. This could translate into decreased sales for the company but restaurant analysts say that support from the religious right in main markets could lessen the impact. But to keep this from getting worse, the company would need to remain mum now so as not to aggravate the current situation.
The Atlanta-based food chain is negating accusations of antagonism to the LGBT community after Cathy’s comments regarding support of conventional marriage and the “biblical definition” of families.
It has been reported that the company’s annual grand-opening campout for fans in Laguna Hill, Calif., was called off after reports emerged that a protest would be held against the company. Varying groups are also planning a same-sex “kiss-in” for next week at Chick-fil-A locations across the country.
Businesses and other government officials have also reacted to this. Philadelphia Councilman James. F Kennedy wrote to Cathy in a letter saying, "So, please take a hike and take your intolerance with you." Jim Henson’s company that created Muppet has gone on to say that it will not partner with the company on toys for kids meals from now onwards.
Amidst the criticism the company has garnered, it is not without its set of supporters. Republican politiciansand have openly shown their support for the company. They have rallied supporters for the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” as well. Rick Santorum tweeted, “ I’m joining @GovMikeHuckabee to support @ChickfilA Aug 1. Stand w us! RSVP now: ht.ly/cugl1 #chickfila Pls RT”.
After Cathy’s statements became public, the company released a statement saying, "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
Tim Calkins, professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University expressed his opinions on the situation saying that since the company is facing two extreme opposing groups it puts the company in a tight spot. “There are people who strongly support their position, which means the company can’t backpedal too much,” he said. "They could risk turning off a significant number of customers" with expressions of solidarity for either camp."
Experts are debating how this would affect the company’s bottom line. "I don't think it's going to make much of a difference in the long term," Director of Food services research at Mintel, Giandelone said. "They're almost kind of netting each other out."