Proving once again that “any publicity is good publicity,” Chick-fil-A had a “record-setting day” on Wednesday as patrons rushed to their nearest of 1,600 branches around the country of the fast-food restaurant in response to a call by Mike Huckabee one week ago to show support for Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A.
Cathy had been vilified in public by several politicians and other public figures for his stand on gay marriage, including Boston and Chicago mayors Thomas Menino and Rahm Emanuel. In response to the severe tongue lashing, Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, ordained Baptist minister and political talk show host defended Cathy and urged people to show their support for Cathy and his stand on marriage by patronizing Chick-fil-A on August 1st.
It turned out that “appreciation day” at Chick-fil-A was a unimaginably huge success. Branches all over the country reported long lines and long waits for customers who came in record numbers to show their support. In Roseville, a city near Sacramento, California a Fox News reporter saw a two hour wait for service. The independently owned branch there was forced to truck in additional chicken to meet demand.
"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," said Steve Robinson, executive vice president of marketing. "While we don’t release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day."
The company said in a statement that Chick-fil-A’s management philosophy is based on Biblical principles, and therefore stores are closed on Sundays. They also said that the company in no way promoted or advertised “appreciation day,” it was all in response to Huckabee’s suggestion. Huckabee claims that he received 21 million visits to his Facebook page in favor of appreciation day. In addition Chick-fil-A stressed that it has a tradition of service which is also Bible-based that requires employees to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
A counter protest is planned for Friday by Chick-fil-A detractors. Same-sex couples announced that they will arrive at Chick-fil-A stores around the country and stage a “kiss-a-thon” to protest Cathy’s stand on same-sex marriage. Huckabee says he has no problem with such a demonstration.
"That's America," Huckabee said on Fox News Thursday morning. "As long as they're orderly. As long as they don't disrupt the flow of customers and traffic. If they believe that this will help their cause – to put people of the same sex kissing each other in front of families – if they believe that will encourage people to be more sympathetic, then more power to them."
Company spokesmen say that they are expecting Friday to be just another business day, “present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food."