Chick-fil-A Reports Record Sales on Appreciation Day
Thousands and thousands of people showed their support for traditional marriage by scarfing down waffle fries and chicken sandwiches during the controversial Chick-fil-A appreciation day. ABC News reported that officials from the fast-food chain are boasting "record-setting" sales because of the nationwide event.
"While we don't release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day," Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
ABC News notes that at least one Chick-fil-A had to close early because it sold almost all of its chicken products. Other locations welcomed throngs of customers, who waited in line for hours to purchase a chicken sandwich and to show their support for Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-fil-A who publicly condemned same-sex marriage late last month, as EDGE reported.
"We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country," Robinson said. "We congratulate local Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators and their team members for striving to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality."
Those who decided to dine at the Chick-fil-A in Augusta, Ga., which is 150 miles away from the company's headquarters, had to wait in line for hours. Employees eventually had to turn down customers as they ran out of food for the night.
CNN pointed out Chick-fil-As in Dallas were packed with supporters and several people lined up in establishments located in Georgia and in Laurel, Miss.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who created Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, said on his radio show that he was "giddy" with the event's success.
"People are voting with their feet today," Huckabee said. "I guess you could also say they are voting with their faces, they are stuffing them with chicken sandwiches, those lovely Chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A."
Cathy, who said he was "guilty as charged" for standing against marriage equality, thanked customers for their support at the Chick-fil-A's drive-through line in Fayetteville, Ga. The businessman has not made any public statements or interviewed since telling the Baptist Press he supports "the biblical definition of the family unit."
"We are very much supportive of the family," Cathy told the publication. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."
On Aug. 3, gay activists plan to visit Chick-fil-A parking lots across the country for National Same Sex Kiss Day in order to protest Cathy and the fast-food chain. Same-sex couples are urged to kiss outside their local Chick-fil-A restaurants and the event's Facebook page has about 11,000 members who say they will participate in the protest. But ABC News points out Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day's Facebook page had about 55 times more attendees.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," Robinson said in a statement. "We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food."
It seems as though Wendy's is getting in on the culture war as a franchise owner of a Wendy's in North Carolina put the message, "We stand with Chick-fil-A" on the restaurant's marquee. After the news broke, Wendy's official Twitter account posted, "An independent franchisee posted the sign, which he's taken down. We proudly serve ALL customers," Mediaite reported.
But some Chick-fil-A franchisees are trying to distance themselves from the national drama as well.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Jeremiah Cillpam's fast-food joint on Sunset Boulevard in the City of Los Angeles is closely located to the city's largest LGBT populations in Hollywood and West Hollywood.
Cillpam said he has no intentions to take sides on the issue and plans to run his business apolitically.
"We strive to ensure that every guest receives amazing food and service regardless of belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," he wrote on his restaurant's Facebook page. Cilpman says both Cathy and LGBT activists have the right to free speech.
"I recognize that I have a community that has gays and lesbians, and I love my community," he said.
Anthony Piccola, the manager of New Hampshire's only Chick-fil-A, said he didn't support Cathy's anti-gay marriage views and plans to sponsor the state's Pride Fest on Aug. 11. He also said he has no problem with hiring a member of the LGBT community and does not discriminate against anyone.
"I would challenge people to come have a conversation with me before they make assumptions or boycott my restaurant," Piccola said in a statement. He also told ABC News: "As an independent franchise Operator I am dedicated to supporting our local community in the best ways possible and we give to a wide variety of causes in Nashua. The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
Conservative organizations are thrilled with the support Chick-fil-A has received. Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth, an anti-gay organization, applauded the outcome of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
"I am ecstatic to see the public's (and even many cultural elites') response to the pro-homosexual lobby's obnoxious war on Chick-fil-A," he said in a statement. "You will recall that this controversy began when the company's Christian COO, Dan Cathy, simply affirmed his belief in the biblical standard of family. Today (Wed., Aug. 1) is "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," as dubbed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. If you can't eat at Chick-fil-A tonight, do so this week and as often as possible to support this wonderful company with a Christian heart."
LaBarbera went on to criticize gay activists by calling them "homo-fanatics" and said, "Sadly, the pro-homosexual media frequently use their power to deny opposing voices. There is no other legitimate side to the Homo-Fanatic, who sees Chick-fil-A -- and the 'Anti-Gay Christian Right' -- as THE ENEMY."
When the website Free Republic reported about Chick-fil-A's success a number of readers commented with their strong opinions on the issue.
"Well, DUH! They couldn't have had larger crowds yesterday if they were GIVING the chicken away! A more accurate statement would be that Chick-fil-A SMASHED all sales records for ANY fast-food franchise yesterday," one person wrote. "Several CFA's here in the Houston area had to shut down early - 8PM instead of 10PM - because they RAN OUT OF FOOD! That is simply AWESOME to think about! They literally did not have any more food to serve to customers! God Bless CFA and the recently-re-awakened America," another reader commented.