Chick-fil-A, the controversial American fast food brand, famous as much for its donations to anti-LGBTQ organisations as it is for fried chicken sandwiches, is being forced to close its first U.K. restaurant. It opened only eight days ago.
The company, which appeared to be at the beginning of a major European expansion, opened at the Oracle shopping centre in Reading on 10 October.
As reported by BBC News, it will now close after pressure from local gay rights groups and a media row around the causes it has historically supported. The Oracle shopping centre said it would not renew its lease and that it “was the right thing to do” but did not address why it had offered the lease in the first place, given Chick-fil-A’s controversial record was well-known.
The Oracle said: “We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further.”
Chick-fil-A was founded by Truett Cathy, who opened a diner in Atlanta in 1946, an entrepreneur known, according to the brand’s website, “for having a keen business sense, a work ethic forged during the Depression, and a personal and business philosophy based on biblical principles.” It is those principles which means that still today the company closes on Sundays. More seriously however, it is the Christian faith baked into the brand’s DNA which has resulted in its million-dollar support for groups that opposed same-sex marriage, and for a (now-dissolved) group that promoted conversion therapy, a bogus — and discredited — ideology that casts homosexuality as a curable illness.