Chick-fil-A is the exception to the rule when it comes to business and religion – brands usually go out of their way to avoid offense, lest they alienate consumers. Yet on Monday the chain’s COO Dan Cathy gave a frank description of the Chick-fil-A’s views to Baptist Press: “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit… and we are married to our first wives.” Cathy said the chain was “guilty as charged” when it came to Chick-fil-A’s stance on biblical and family values – which the US media took as a confirmation of the chain’s presumed anti-gay stance.
Rumors of opposition to same sex marriage by Chick-fil-A date back further – in January 2011, the COO issued a statement saying “we will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family” but that the company has a “65-year history of operating the business according to Biblical principles.” Despite the anti-gay stories circulating during this time, consumer perception of the brand has remained strong – it rates well in the top 10 ‘best perceived’ brand in the quick service restaurant sector from January 2011 to the present. But among LGBT consumers the perception is significantly lower.
Perception is measured using YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents: “Have you heard anything positive or negative about this brand, either in advertising, news, or by word of mouth?” With results filtered for respondents who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.