Business, Economics and Jobs

Chick-fil-A: customers increase, despite anti-gay-marriage stance


Sarah Palin gives the thumbs up to Chick-fil-A amid gay marriage controversy.


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Is taking a stand against gay marriage bad for business? Apparently not for fast-food-chain Chick-fil-A, whose president, Dan Cathy, told a religious magazine in July that the company supported “the Biblical definition of the family unit.”

According a survey of fast-food consumers by chain restaurant market research firm Sandelman & Associates, the number of people who said they’d visited Chick-fil-A in the past month was up 2.2 percent compared with the same period in 2011, ABC News reported. In the third quarter, the Atlanta-based company grabbed an additional 0.6 percent of market share, and the number of consumers who recalled seeing Chick-fil-A advertising increased 6.5 percent, the survey also showed.

"There was a lot of talk that this would hurt Chick-fil-A, but it actually helped the brand," Jeff Davis, president of Sandelman, told USA Today.

After Cathy’s comments were published, gay rights supporters boycotted the chain, USA Today reported.

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However, conservative customers turned out in droves for an Aug. 1 "Appreciation Day" that the company organized, setting a sales record, according to Chick-fil-A, ABC News reported.

PR executive Ronn Torossian told USA Today that this shows brands do not have to appeal to all customers to thrive. "Brands that take risks can win big rewards, but they must be prepared for the backlash that comes with it," Torossian, CEO at 5WPR, told USA Today. "They were saying to their core constituency: Here's what we believe."

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