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Chick-fil-A has best quarter ever despite boycott over company president's gay marriage comments

October 25, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
USA Today is reporting that the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A made a healthy profit last quarter despite controversy after President Dan Cathy expressed opposition to gay marriage in a religious publication.

According to the paper, consumer use of the chain was up 2.2 percent over last year at the same time, market share was up 0.6 percent and ad awareness was up 6.5 percent.

Different gay rights groups called for a boycott of the restaurant and held same sex kiss-ins last summer outside different restaurants, while supporters called for people to eat at the restaurant to express their support. In August a gunman shot a security guard outside the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington D.C. and news reports suggested the gunman was carrying Chick-fil-A bags and had expressed opposition to the conservative groups' opposition to gay marriage.

Any publicity is good publicity? More people interested in buying a chicken sandwich than paying attention to politics? More Chick-fil-A restaurants in red states than in blue states? It's hard to tell.

As a vegetarian I wouldn't set foot in one of the restaurants even if there were any in North Dakota. As a newspaper reporter I could have predicted that a boycott of this type was pretty unlikely to work. There are too many people who share Cathy's point of view and too many other people who don't care one way or the other. The ones who do care are probably more like me – patrons of sub sandwich restaurants and upscale coffee shops and organic food markets. They wouldn't have gone to Chick-fil-A anyway.

When in doubt, always bet against a boycott.


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