Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fud Fite In Racine

So the stupid Chick-fil-A controversy came to Racine yesterday. Hundreds of people showed up at Regency Mall to buy a chicken sandwich and then board their teabilly buses to go back to wherever they came from hundreds of miles away only to never buy another sandwich here again.

Wow, that's some powerful statement. No doubt each was a supporter of "small business owners" who passed by dozens - if not hundreds - of privately owned, chicken sandwich serving restaurants run by god-fearing men and women only to spend their their cash at a mega fast food chain owned by a billionaire. Brilliant.

So who cares what Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A owner has to say about same sex marriage? Well, a lot of people.

Does he get to say such things? Of course he does.

Do the city officials of Chicago, San Francisco or Philadelphia get to block Chick-fil-A from coming to their cities? The Siren thinks not. In fact, their efforts to be supportive of LGBT rights have only managed to make the discussion about a chain food restaurant's owner's ability to speak his mind instead of being about equality and tolerance. Brilliant.

In the end, Dan Cathy can like gay people or not. He can talk about it all he wants...with the understanding that the public will equate his public statements with his product. Whether they want to use their dollars or not to purchase his product is up to them. However, having now set up that kind of customer relationship is risky business - but Dan Cathy is a billionaire, we doubt he needs the Siren's advice.

It is worth noting that a recent market research survey done since Cathy's statement has shown a 40% drop in their brand index score with the public. That is information that should make Cathy a lot more nervous than what the Siren has to say on the subject. Mike Huckabee might want to call for a few more Chick-fil-A appreciation days.

There is a good article from Bloomberg/Businessweek about the risks of mixing your business with your religion.

Lastly, in a fitting ironic twist - Chick-fil-A's only independent franchise in Nashua, New Hampshire has pledged his support to the New Hampshire Pride Festival, restaurant manager, Anthony Picolia saying in a statement:
“Chick-fil-A at Pheasant Lane Mall has gay employees and serves gay customers with honor, dignity and respect. We also don’t discriminate in giving back to the Nashua community, donating to a wide variety of causes...Come to my restaurant and see for yourself that my team and I only have one mission: To serve exceptional experiences to all.”
In spite of Cathy's success, we think that is a business plan that everyone can agree on.