Culinary no-no #633

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

An amazing American success story is..

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S. Truett Cathy started the business in 1946, when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as The Dwarf Grill. In 1967, Cathy founded and opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta.

At the time of Truett’s death in 2014 Chick-fil-A had more than 1,800 restaurants in 40 states (plus the District of Columbia).  Today, Chick-fil-A has the highest same-store sales and is the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual system-wide sales.

Chick-fil-A’s purpose statement reads, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” Truett decided to close his restaurant on Sundays in 1946, more than 20 years before Chick-fil-A was born. He believed that his employees should join him to rest and worship if they wanted.

The franchise’s mission and Sunday closings led to a strong and loyal following, but vocal opposition erupted in 2012 when the company’s current CEO, Dan Cathy, son of founder Truett Cathy, shared his views on gay marriage.

“Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

The gay and LGBTQ communities protested. Then in 2019 the nation learned that Chick-Fil-A made charitable donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations, adding fuel to the fire.

So Chick-fil-A generated more shockwaves when the Chick-fil A Foundation announced on November 18 that it would dedicate  $9 million to these initiatives in 2020:

  • Education: To support education, we are expanding our partnership with Junior Achievement USA (JA). JA offers kindergarten to 12th grade programs that foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. The organization reaches nearly 5 million students annually. 
  • Homelessness: To address youth homelessness, we are expanding our partnership with Covenant House International. For more than four decades, Covenant House has helped transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway and trafficked young people – reaching 70,000 youth each year. 
  • Hunger: To fight hunger, we will support more than 120 communities by dedicating $25,000 to a local food bank at each new Chick-fil-A opening.

Chick-fil-A also stated “The new initiative will no longer include donating to organizations like the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.”

Reaction from previous Chick-fil-A backers was swift.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was angry and promised to have his dinner at a different local restaurant instead.

Former Alabama governor turned media commentator Mike Huckabee called the announcement a “sell out to the LEFT and a betrayal to loyal customers.”

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Christian Family Research Council said . “Every time someone ate there they were making a cultural statement. This company — a brave holdout for so many years — is running away from the people and principles that made them who they are. Chick-fil-A didn’t just compromise their witness. They dragged thousands of godly men and women into the pit with them — owners, employees, and franchisees who never signed up for this. They’re the ones the company abandoned.”

 

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Alas, poor Chick-fil-A, was also pounded from both sides.

“When Chick-Fil-A apologizes directly to the LGBTQ community and begins to donate to pro-LGBTQ causes, then I will eat there. Not one second before,” said Drew Anderson of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).

Others complained the new initiative should have spent more.

Top brass at Chick-fil-A should have realized you can’t appease the Left. If they hated you yesterday they will hate you today and continue hating you tomorrow. And whatever Chick-fil-A would decide to donate to new organizations it wasn’t going to be enough. It never is.

Meanwhile any plans to boycott (this time by the Right) would be foolish. From a Culinary no-no this past June:

The American Customer Service Index (ACSI) just released its survey results for America’s top fast food restaurant.

The ACSI questioned 23,000 consumers using a 100-point scale. Customers were asked to rate fast-food restaurants on the following:

Accuracy

Food quality

Menu variety

Cleanliness

Staff behavior

The top restaurant scored an 86. For the 4th consecutive year, Chick-fil-A was #1.

The hostile opposition to Chick-fil-A is well-documented because of the owner’s Christian beliefs. But the chain has a strong loyal following. From Twitter:

Say what you will about their politics, you can’t argue with the customer service. I once saw a drive through cashier literally chase a car down in open traffic to correct someone’s order.

If you’re going the fast food route, there are tastier options (they’re still very good) but they beat every other chain hands down in the employee friendliness department. The person taking your order doesn’t act like they hate you and their job.

All the protests, kiss-ins and demonstrations have failed miserably.

Chick-fil-A is the most profitable fast-food chain in the U.S. on a per-unit basis, with a single Chick-fil-A franchise earning an average of $4.1 million in annual sales, according to QSR Magazine. By comparison, the average unit volume at a KFC location is $1.2 million. The Wall Street Journal called Chick-fil-A “one of the fastest-growing domestic fast-food chains, with more than 2,400 U.S. restaurants. Its crispy fried-chicken sandwich and focus on speed and service have found fans well beyond its Southern base in recent years.”

I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

CULINARY NO-NO BONUS

ICYMI, Culinary no-no #632

One thought on “Culinary no-no #633

  1. Pingback: UPDATE: Culinary no-no #633 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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