BACKGROUNDER Summary Chick-‐fil-‐A is a 67-‐year-‐old family-‐owned fast-‐food chain with very strong conservative beliefs, some of which pertain to what constitutes a family. Dan Cathy, president and chief operating officer of the chain, recently did a radio interview where he shared these beliefs, stating that he only supports traditional marriage. Since this incident, the media and protestors are attacking the company and essentially ruining its reputation. This controversy is also causing Chicago to oppose construction of a new location. The company would like to now focus on business and leave the social debates to the government. Scope Chick-‐fil-‐A’s main demographic is people between the ages of 18 and 34. This is the same demographic that largely supports same-‐sex marriage, which the company opposes. It is important for Chick-‐fil-‐A to fix its reputation so it will not lose the business of their main demographic. However, Chick-‐fil-‐A already lost business from a few major universities, with students that fall in their main demographic. New York University students signed a petition to not allow Chick-‐fil-‐A to continue to sell on campus. Northwestern University’s senate passed a resolution to cancel plans for a Chick-‐fil-‐A to be built on campus. Both universities hold large student bodies. Chick-‐fil-‐A lost many customers.
Not all people in the 18-‐34 year old demographic feel the same about same sex marriage. When asked, only 53 percent said they would boycott the due to the statements of the president. That leaves 47 percent to visit the fast food chain. After the public heard Cathy’s statements, there were two separate sides that people took. One side is in support of him, and many of these people came together and held a Chick-‐fil-‐A appreciation day. This took place on a Wednesday, and sales that particular day went up 29.9 percent, with an average of 367 more customers than usual per location. Although people attended this for political reasons and to support the idea of same sex marriage, many others attended in support of the food and the company in general. On the other hand, many people do not agree with the company’s beliefs and swear they will not eat at any of the restaurants in the near future. The controversy Chick-‐fil-‐A is facing may be bigger in certain areas of the country. The Southern area is statistically more religious than the North, and there may be more people there that would agree with the company and continue to support it. Conversely, people from the North tend to be more liberal and may not agree with the company. The sales of the different regions would tell if this is true. Mission Chick-‐fil-‐A’s main objective is to provide excellent food and service to customers, employees and the community. Employees are to treat everyone who comes in with respect, honor, and dignity. Chick-‐fil-‐A enforces these guidelines from
day one, and the company feels it is something the employees can take with them into their future careers. Chick-‐fil-‐A strongly believes in helping the community. Chick-‐fil-‐A brings sandwiches to first responders during a crisis to honor the volunteers. When the wildfires and tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and South in 2011 and 2012, Chick-‐fil-‐A donated over twelve thousand sandwiches to the victims and workers. Food is also donated to organizations who treat sick or special-‐needs children, like the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Nathaniel’s Hope in Florida, the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and many more. In addition, Chick-‐fil-‐A holds military appreciation days, during which military personnel and their families eat for free or at a decreased cost. Furthermore, Chick-‐fil-‐A sponsors youth education and provides scholarships. Chick-‐fil-‐A provides college scholarships to Chick-‐fil-‐A team members, donates to various colleges, and provides funds for sports programs to disadvantaged kids in Atlanta, Ga. Chick-‐fil-‐A’s founder, Truett Cathy, created the WinShape Foundation, which created camps and foster homes throughout the country. The WinShape Foundation donated millions of dollars to organizations that promote traditional marriage and to organizations that are anti-‐gay. Funding of these groups ceased due to the controversy. As people became upset, Chick-‐fil-‐A, released a statement, solidifying the fact that the company has a heritage that it is sticking to by continuing to strengthen
families, enrich marriages, and support communities. Chick-‐fil-‐A also states its intent is not to support any political or social agendas. History Chick-‐fil-‐A started in 1946 when Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-‐fil-‐A, opened his first restaurant, Dwarf Grill, in Hapeville, Ga. This is where Chick-‐fil-‐A’s signature boneless breast of chicken sandwich was invented. In the early 1960s, Chick-‐fil-‐A, Inc. was founded, and locations began to open. The first location opened in suburban Atlanta in 1967. Chick-‐fil-‐A has grown into the second largest fast-‐food chicken restaurant chain in the United States. There are over 1,700 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C. In 2012, annual sales were over 4.6 billion, a 14 percent increase from the previous year. Chick-‐fil-‐A has many different types of locations, including: in-‐line restaurants, drive-‐thru only outlets, stand-‐alone restaurants, non-‐traditional outlets, and lunch-‐counters. The Dwarf House and Truett’s Grill, two full-‐service restaurants, are also owned by Chick-‐fil-‐A. The restaurants stay open six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Because of religious practices, the locations stay closed on Sunday. Conclusion Headquarters for Chick-‐fil-‐A is located in Atlanta, Ga. Chick-‐fil-‐A credits a lot of its success to its stable management team. Although other companies’ management teams may change frequently, all of Chick-‐fil-‐A’s corporate staff has
been with the company for 20 years or more. Chick-‐fil-‐A is one of the largest family-‐owned businesses in the United States. Chick-‐fil-‐A could start to repair its reputation by publishing more positive things they do to the media, which would bring good press and attention.