As the news circulates, already the vows by social conservatives not to eat there again (for awhile, at least) are circulating online. Memo to the Chick-fil-A PR team: Bro, know your brand.
It’s not as if the charities to which they’d been donating were known for inflammatory politics either. They weren’t kicking in to the Westboro Baptist Church, they were contributing to — wait for it — the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In fact, the company had already stopped donating to other groups that lobbied against gay rights years ago, back in 2012 when the owner’s belief in traditional marriage became a cultural flashpoint. They were already partially woke before today.
But you know how wokeness is. Anything less than 100 percent doesn’t count.
Solution: No more cash for the Salvation Army and the FCE. Faith-based groups will still be in the mix for Chick-fil-A’s charitable giving, but it sounds like they’ll be vetting the recipients more closely going forward to make sure that their social views are the Correct ones.
“There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are,” Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos said in an interview with Bisnow. “There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.”…
The new giving structure moves away from the multiyear commitments Chick-fil-A had with the Salvation Army and the FCA and focuses on annual grants, which Tassopoulos said will be reviewed and assessed each year. Future partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities, but the company said none of the organizations have anti-LGBT positions…
But after years of “taking it on the chin,” as a Chick-fil-A executive told Bisnow, the latest round of headlines was impossible to ignore. This time, it was impeding the company’s growth.…
[C]ompany leaders … felt a new message was needed — especially in foreign markets, where the most prominent brand exposure to Chick-fil-A are headlines about its support for organizations with anti-LGBT stances.
They’re not pulling their punches there. Supporting anti-gay-marriage Christian groups was hurting their bottom line, especially abroad, so those groups will no longer receive Chick-fil-A’s money. Simple as that.
These people do realize that they’re practically the official fast food of right-wing America thanks to the left’s endless culture-war assault on them, right? To turn around and surrender after all this time seems baffling. Look how far they’ve gotten by sticking to their guns: Not only are they now the third biggest fast food chain in the United States, behind only the twin behemoths of McDonald’s and Starbucks, this summer they topped the charts for the fourth year in a row in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s ranking of fast food restaurants. In a post-Obergefell world, the red/blue battle over Chick-fil-A often felt like a distant memory. Chick-fil-A (mostly) stuck to its guns but gays got the right to marry anyway and everyone went back to eating their chicken.
But it wasn’t a distant memory for everyone. The struggle towards total wokeness is never over, which is why Chick-fil-A continues to find itself unwelcome at certain domestic airports and in certain foreign countries. It’s a stubborn pocket of resistance in the LGBT culture war otherwise won resoundingly by the left, and so the left is going to continue to bomb it occasionally — or was, until today.
Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A has been receiving a different type of pressure on its bottom line by the runaway success of the Popeyes chicken sandwich, a cultural craze so insane that stories about people getting violent while they wait in long lines for it are still appearing months after the buzz peaked. In August the WSJ wrote about a chicken sandwich “arms race” among the top chains inspired by Popeyes’ success. Disengaging entirely from LGBT politics in its charitable giving may be Chick-fil-A’s way of staying competitive in that arms race. Now they’re free-ish to keep pace with Popeyes and KFC in expanding their presence abroad.
Now that the chain has lost its halo on the right, are we all finally free to admit that it’s … just not that great? It’s perfectly fine, and I can’t say that the Popeyes sandwich is better since I haven’t tried it yet. But I’ve always been baffled by the mystique of Chick-fil-A apart from its status as a conservative holdout in the culture clash over gay rights. And I like some fast food. Wendy’s? Definitely. Sonic? Yes, please. McDonald’s? You may scoff at how basic it is, but those fries are America’s greatest cultural legacy. There’s nothing wrong with CFA in a pinch, but if you’re up for fast food and have options, why would that be your first choice? For some righties, maybe it won’t be anymore.