Skip to comments.Crowds flock to Chick-fil-A [PC Push-Back Spin]
Posted on 08/02/2012 6:29:02 AM PDT by madprof98
If Chick-fil-A needed any proof that metro Atlantans would "eat mor chikin" even in the face of what arguably can be called a public relations nightmare for the company it need only check its Wednesday receipts.
Fans from Gwinnett County's Hamilton Mill to Fayetteville inundated the chain's metro stores, with lines snaking onto sidewaks and drive-through traffic backing into roadways.
The turnout came two weeks after Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy's comments supporting biblical marriage touched off a firestorm on same-sex unions. But many said the real issue that drew them Wednesday was freedom of speech.
Daniel Jordan of Atlanta, for example, said that while he doesn't agree with Cathy's marriage view, he came out specifically to support Chick-fil-A because he's equally opposed to shutting down a company because of the views of one of its leaders.
Numbers were not available the company has declined interviews since Cathy's remarks, and store managers weren't talking to reporters but the crowds were clearly larger than any on a normal day. Cars lined up for more than a block at some locations. Some diners reported leaving to come back later because the restaurants were running out of supplies due to the heavy demand.
Opponents of Cathy's position are planning a show of unity of their own Friday with a "Kiss-in" at locations across the nation, including CNN Center and the Decatur Chick-fil-A store, which has traditionally been gay-friendly.
"Some people are trying to upset their business because of their opinions," said Jordan, as he munched on a chicken sandwich in crowded CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. "The fact that they don't support gay marriage, what a surprise."
Wednesday's show of support for the privately held company came after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dubbed it Chick-fil-A "Appreciation Day" and asked fans to come out in droves. They did, and not just around Atlanta. Stores were jammed in in Houston and Wichita, lines weaved around tables in Alabama, and Florida stores looked more like packed sardine cans than the chicken patrons were waiting to eat. The Rev. Billy Graham, 93, ate a Chick-fil-A lunch at his North Carolina home, according to a spokesman.
Julie Greene of Marietta was one who heeded Huckabee's call Wednesday. She said she and her family , including her children and parents, planned to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at Chick-fil-A in a show of solidarity.
"We love the Cathy family stand on biblical values," Greene said as she waited for breakfast in Powder Springs.
But Greene was quick to say she had no hatred toward anyone. Her support comes down to free speech. "Why can't (Cathy) say what he believes without being persecuted for it," she said. "We have our freedoms. And freedom of speech is one of our greatest."
The company made clear that "Appreciation Day" was not its idea.
"Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was created by our fans, not Chick-fil-A," Steve Robinson, executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "We appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time. Our goal is simple: to provide great food, genuine hospitality, and to have a positive influence on all who come in to Chick-fil-A."
The show of support won't resolve the brand's struggles in the long term, said Mark Pettit, an expert on crisis management.
"One day of support is not the answer to their PR problem," said Pettit, president and chief executive officer of Atlanta-based marketing firm Creaxion. "They are now a polarized brand, which in business is not a good thing."
At Kennesaw State University, an online petition seeks to remove the chain from the school.
And Emory University's Division of Campus Life said in a statement: "Recent public statements by Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A, do not reflect Emory's values as an institution. Nevertheless, freedom of expression and an open exchange of ideas are also central tenets of the Emory community. Emory therefore respects the right of people to express their disagreement with Mr. Cathy by not patronizing Chick-fil-A."
Erik Bloom, who tagged along with Jordan for a Chick-fil-A lunch, said Cathy should have kept his views private.
"I just think it's dumb to be that outspoken about it," said Bloom, an Atlanta resident. "I think it's a bad business move. In business, you have to be more politically correct."
For Teresa Williams, of Albany, N.Y., Wednesday was her first Chick-fil-A experience. Williams, who was visiting Atlanta, was talked into eating at Chick-fil-A by friend Megan Myers, a Rochester, N.Y., resident, who sang the praises of the chicken sandwiches. Both were aware of the controversy, but were unmoved by boycott efforts.
"Somebody's stupid comments won't stop me from having a milkshake," said Myers, who said she eats at Chick-fil-A whenever she visits Atlanta.
Edward Mitchell and John Spink contributed to this article.
It is if your pole is oriented toward 98% of the population.
I do love the one predictable thing about liberals and progressives.
The longer they talk, the dumber they sound.
If this is a ‘public relations nightmare’, send me three. Dan Cathy never knew it at the time, but he hit a grand-slam by simply bearing witness for the Lord he loves. The AJC, the gays, the libs, and the media at large do not have a clue and never will. Sad.
In a nation with 315 million people, who cares how "polarised" they are?
No pun intended
Sooo... this guy says chik-fil-a is now a polarized brand...
what about the MSM???
their business model automatically excludes a majority of the population......
the chik-fil-a business model does not...
libs and commies just do not understand business.
They also do not know how to make an honest living...
“Political Correctness”, when it was conceived, was originally called
How can any sane report make such a statement seeing the resulting public support.
in the face of what arguably can be called a public relations nightmare for the
company Gay Agenda Crowd
It is time to hold corporations and celebrities accountable for their support of left wing lowlife Democratic thugs. That includes the AJC.
Newspapers should know about polarization. They are openly hostile to at least 1/3 of their audience every day. Running Charles Krauthammer once a week doesn’t cut it.
The reporter needs to recheck the definition of the word "arguably", as the proof of Wednesday ended the argument.
I heard several Chick-fil-a’s in SC had to shut down because they ran out of food. Anybody know if this happened in Georgia? I know if it did the AJC wouldn’t report it.
“One day of support is not the answer to their PR problem...”
What PR problem? Judging from the long lines and congested drive thrus at most CFA locations, I’d say this was some of the best publicity the company ever had.
“”even in the face of what arguably can be called a public relations nightmare for the company””
The leftist media and the politicians would like to believe Cathy’s statement was a public relations nightmare.
To the contrary Cathy only solidified his base. Most Christians have known the values held by Chick-fil-A for decades. Now the rest of the USA (excluding radical leftists) know those values.
The point is that the effort needs to be sustained over time. Everyone knows that yesterday was a blip ( a very good and substantial one ), but if CFA ultimately sees stagnation or decline in it’s sales, rather than a precursor to continued growth, it will show the blip to be an abberation.
Support for, and customer loyalty to, this company needs to be maintained and grown for yesterday to have both meaning and impact.
Mark Pettit, this “PR expert” is a moron. This is his Huff Post article from several days ago: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-pettit/back-to-chicken-biscuits_b_1698113.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
I haven’t heard any leftist talk about how Target and Starbucks should be quiet about gay marriage. After all being polarizing is bad business. . . that is if you are a conservative.
The Yankees and Red Sox are polarizing brands too.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.