In a massive show of support for Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s stance against gay marriage, large crowds of people flocked to the chicken sandwich restaurants around the country yesterday to produce “record-setting” sales on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which was started on Facebook by Fox News commentator and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“While we don’t release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day,” Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
Restaurants had lines snaking around buildings and people waited for up to two hours to get a sandwich and demonstrate support for Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s comments supporting traditional marriage.
“We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country,” Robinson said. “We congratulate local Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators and their team members for striving to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality.”
The franchise, which is based in Atlanta, had the been the subject of calls for boycotts by gay marriage supporters, and mayors in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC, said franchises are not welcome in their city. So to demonstrate that the other side also has a significant voice, Huckabee called for supporters of traditional marriage to flock to the restaurant yesterday.
In Augusta, Georgia, the restaurant had to close two hours early because it was running out of food after a day of serving long lines.
ABC News reported that Lillian Huber, the Augusta Chick-fil-A’s marketing director, said employees began directing customers to another location around 8 p.m. so the store would have enough food left to open the next morning.
And even places that don’t have any Chick-fil-A franchises got in on the action, as Auburn, Maine resident Arthur Langley organized a caravan to bring 14 supporters two hours away to the nearest restaurant, where they “happily” waited a “very very long time” to “demonstrate their support for what they believe was very important values in our society.”
Huckabee said on his radio show yesterday that he was “giddy” about outcome.
“People are voting with their feet today,” Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said. “I guess you could also say they are voting with their faces, they are stuffing them with chicken sandwiches, those lovely Chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A.”
Cathy himself greeted customers in Fayetteville, Ga., thanking them for their support.
It was a remarkable national moment, turning a chicken sandwich into a symbol of the nation’s ongoing social wars. And the war will continue to rage tomorrow, as gay activists are pledging to flock to Chick-fil-A’s around the country for National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A.
Same-sex couples are being urged to take photos and videos of themselves kissing outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide. While roughly 11,000 have said on Facebook that they will attend the event, the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day event had about 55 times that many Facebook attendees.
But it remains to be seen tomorrow which side will win this chicken sandwich skirmish.