Fast-food chain in LGBT rights row shuts last UK outlet

Chick-fil-A bag and MacDonald Aviemore resort sign
Image caption Chick-fil-A has opened its first Scottish outlet in Aviemore

A US fast-food chain criticised for making donations to anti-LGBT rights groups has closed its sole restaurant in the UK.

Chick-fil-A opened the outlet in Aviemore last year, around the same time it shut its only other site which was in Reading.

The Aviemore opening was criticised by Highland LGBT Forum and more than 1,200 signed a petition opposing the move.

Chick-fil-A said it had closed the restaurant in line with its plans.

It said the outlet at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort had been a pilot run as part of work to find a permanent location in the UK.

Chick-fil-A had previously said it was focused on food and hospitality and did not have a social or political agenda.

Highlands-based LGBT campaigner Scott Cuthbertson has welcomed the company’s decision to close the Aviemore site.

Chick-fil-A, a family-owned company, is one of the biggest fast-food chains in the USA and has about 2,400 outlets across North America.

It has faced criticism in the US and UK for donations from the Chick-fil-A Foundation to organisations that LGBT campaigners say have a reputation of being hostile to LGBT rights.

In 2012, the company’s chairman sparked a US boycott when he said he opposed gay marriage.

Chick-fil-A said the restaurant closed its doors on 18 January “in line with our plan for a temporary pilot licensed location”.

Calls for a boycott

In a statement, the company said: “It has been our pleasure to serve guests at this pilot restaurant for the past several months, and we are grateful to Macdonald Hotels for allowing us the opportunity to learn from each and every customer.

“These insights will help us immensely as we look to having a permanent location in the UK in the future.”

Chick-fil-A’s first UK outlet in Reading closed after the company did not extend a six month lease.

There had been calls for a boycott of the restaurant.

In a statement issued last year, Chick-fil-A said media reports around the opening of its outlet in Reading referenced dated information and were misleading.

It said it treated everyone with “respect, regardless of race, religion, sexuality or gender” in its recruitment and customer care.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *