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  • 1. 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.    
  • 2. 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  
  • 3. 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  
  • 4. 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  
  • 5. 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.              

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