Chick-fil-A CEO is swimming against the tide*

The fast food chain may have had record crowds the other day in support of Dan Cathay's views on same-sex marriage, but these Pew results show that the nation is moving in the other direction. The South is the only region of the U.S. where more people oppose gay marriage than support it. Not surprisingly, the South is also where Chick-fil-A has most of its stores. So what does all this mean for the company's business? From WSJ columnist John Bussey:

[Dan]. Cathy's views will continue to appeal to many customers, even in parts of the country far from the company's base. Other consumers will just want the chicken sandwiches and won't pay attention to the controversy. Still others simply support his right to free speech. And Mr. Cathy may decide it's best to more clearly dissociate the restaurant from the rhetoric. In other words, there are plenty of ways Chick-fil-A can continue to grow and thrive. But a sea change in business and public attitudes toward legalizing gay marriage does appear to be slowly under way. For the moment, Mr. Cathy has set a powerful brand identity for his business. And it's one that's swimming against the tide.

*There's this from a reader:

I'm a gay man from the South, and Chick-fil-A is indeed iconic to us. As I have spent the last several days defending the CEO for his comments - Freedom of Speech, right? - and defending the culture there, as the story unfolded Wednesday and Thursday, I finally had to concede the obvious. Like so many things from our childhood, the reality is often uglier than the perception. The many stories I read yesterday posted by employees were disheartening. And while Wednesday's Appreciation Day may have been created with the pure intentions of defending First Amendment rights, it devolved into a gay hate-fest with self-righteous, Bible-toting bigots.

Earlier: Is Chick-fil-A being hurt by the kerfuffle over gay marriage?*

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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