Chick-fil-A goes international, opens pilot store in England. The backlash is predictable, but the company is prepared.

Chick-fil-A faced swift backlash after opening a restaurant in England.

What are the details?

The popular American chain restaurant has opened its doors across the pond, and was met with LGBTQ group protests in response.
The restaurant opened in The Oracle, a mall in Reading. Reading is about a 90-minute drive from London.

A statement from the company reads:
We can confirm we opened a pilot licensed location in the U.K. on October 10 and we are pleased to have already served several hundred customers in our first day. This location will help us understand more about consumer interest in our brand and signature menu items.

What was the response?

LGBTQ group Reading Pride has called for a boycott of the brand-new restaurant.
According to the group's Facebook page, the group plans to hold a Saturday protest against the mall's new tenant with goals to shut down the restaurant.
The event is called "Get the Chick Out."

In a Tuesday statement, Martin Cooper, CEO of Reading Pride, said, "We are a progressive country and certainly a very progressive town. What we have here is a restaurant owned by a family that has very backward beliefs that actively promote anti LGBT charities … To have a company with such values in our town is abhorrent to us.

"We need to educate the community about what's happened," Cooper added. "The feedback and support we have got is overwhelming, so a protest and demonstration seems appropriate."

Has Chick-fil-A issued a response?

In a statement, the company said, "We hope our guests in the U.K. will see that Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on serving great food and hospitality, and does not have a social or political agenda."

"We are represented by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs, and we welcome everyone," the statement added.

What else?

Chick-fil-A, America's third-largest fast food chain in sales, posted sales totaling $10.5 billion in 2018.
Other reports indicate that the restaurant is eyeing the launch of a London location.
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