Chick-Fil-A’s Cathy makes bad BUSINESS decision by taking stance on gay marriage

July 25, 2012

Public relations

(Image credit:


I’m not one who’s really in to reserving domain names every time I have a business idea. But this time, I couldn’t resist. So I sat down in front of my computer this afternoon and smiled as I sealed the purchase that is going to make me a rich man very soon.

The two domains I purchased were:




I’m calling up Chick-Fil-A tomorrow and we’re going to talk sales. I wonder how many Brinks trucks they’ll back up into my driveway to purchase those urls from me. What do you think?

Whether you found some humor or rolled your eyes at my attempt at sarcasm, you couldn’t have been as confused as I am by the complete PR cluster Chick-Fil-A has been involved with over the last week. For those of you who haven’t been following along, let’s recap:

- Chick-Fil-A COO Dan Cathy publicly states his opposition to gay marriage in multiple forums

- Some bloggers and customers are fired up and sound off about Cathy’s “discriminatory” stance

- Chick-Fil-A says they want to back away from the gay marriage conversation and leave it to policy decision makers

- Jim Henson Company removes its toys from Chick-Fil-A kids meals; Chick-Fil-A says it’s due to a product issue, but most believe it’s because of Cathy’s anti-gay stance

- Boston’s mayor rips Chick-Fil-A for its anti-gay stance and urges the company to “back out of its plans to locate in Boston”

- And now, Chick-Fil-A is being accused of creating fake Facebook accounts to promote the company POV; Chick-Fil-A has denied creating these accounts

Ok, now let’s discuss the root of Chick-Fil-A’s issues. I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the fake Facebook accounts. Although if a company rep did create those, he/she should be fired. It wasn’t the fact that Dan Cathy chooses to be anti-gay. He’s got the right. And it wasn’t the meth biz they were running with their chicken restaurant set up as a front. Oh wait…wrong chicken place. Sorry, Walt.

If you’ve ever heard Dan Cathy speak, you can’t help but be impressed by his mission to create raving brand fans and give back to the community. I know I was. I’ll never forget how he glowed when he proclaimed his company’s same store sales were 50 percent higher than Burger King’s…”and we’re closed on Sundays.”

I was incredibly impressed with his business acumen. The dude just “got it.” Which is why Cathy’s decisions over the past week are so curious. How could any business leader who lives in America and operates a retail operation with stores across the country think that anything positive would come from taking a stand on the gay marriage issue? What did Cathy or Chick-Fil-A have to gain?

Mr. Cathy…WTF were you thinking? Obviously you weren’t.

This issue has blown up on social media. But the crux of it — where the shit could have been kept out of the fan — is good old fashioned media relations. Any media trainer will teach any executive a few golden rules when it comes working with the media:

- Don’t make promises you can’t keep

- Don’t talk politics

- Don’t forget how hard it is to back away from any public statement you make

What was the point of Cathy making his stance on this issue a public one? Sorry, but I don’t look to fast-food restaurant leaders to take a stance on anything, except maybe special sauce. This is an example of ego getting the best of an executive who thought he and his brand were untouchable because they’ve had so much success. If you don’t believe that, ask yourself why Chick-Fil-A immediately made a statement that they wanted to leave the gay marriage conversation to the policy makers.

Backpedal much, Mr. Cathy? I’m sure you would like to step away from this one after the firestorm you created. But the fact is that in a crowded industry, you changed Chick-Fil-A’s differentiating factor from exceptional service to unexplainable stupidity.

How will this play out from the customer perspective? Well, Burger King’s chicken isn’t as good and they might need some work on their shakes. But at least the King — creepy as he is — isn’t trying to pass moral judgment on me as I drive thru.

Hope it was worth it, Mr. Cathy. Your restaurants make good chicken. But your decision to speak out on gay marriage can only be described as chicken shit.

Related posts:

One Response to “Chick-Fil-A’s Cathy makes bad BUSINESS decision by taking stance on gay marriage”

  1. Robert Madison Says:

    Nice! (As soon as Twitter is back up I’ll share!)


Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.