Sunday, July 22, 2012

How Chick-Fil-A screwed up and ignited a firestorm

Dan Cathy of Chick-Fil-A switches from chicken to crow.
Well no more lemonade and waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A for me because of the company's insulting of the gay community.

For those who haven't been keeping up, please get your head out of that cave, take those fingers out of your ears, and check out this lovely piece by Forbes magazine on how Chick-Fil-A flunked crisis management BIG TIME:

It’s no secret that fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A donates to anti-gay Christian charities — the chain has been getting flak from gay-rights groups for a while now on that. But this week, the company flunked crisis PR 101 and spawned a social-media firestorm with its inept handling of the issue. If there was a gay person — or supporter — left in the U.S.A. with a Facebook account who didn’t know about the boycott of Chick-Fil-A, there isn’t now.

The flames were re-ignited Tuesday when company president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press he is “guilty as charged” of donating to anti-gay charities. Then the company tried to fix the problem with an announcement on Chick-Fil-A’s Facebook page that sent the whole controversy massively viral. Here’s the exact verbiage:

“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

“Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.

“Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”

Translation: “We’d like to close our eyes now, count to ten, and you should forget all about our fervently avowed political views — which we won’t be changing — and go back to eating our chicken a lot.”

Which didn’t work.

This non-response didn’t answer the questions on many people’s minds: Will the company stop donating to groups that are actively opposing gay-marriage laws, and controversial “gay-curing” groups such as Exodus International? Also, how are gay employees treated at the company given the corporate culture?

By essentially refusing to address the issues its founder raised, Chick-Fil-A just made a lot of people madder.

You can say that again.

Click here for the rest of the Forbes magazine article.


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