Eater London reports:
Chick-fil-A, the controversial American fast food brand, famous as much for its donations to anti-LGBTQ organisations as it is for fried chicken sandwiches, is being forced to close its first U.K. restaurant. It opened only eight days ago.
The company, which appeared to be at the beginning of a major European expansion, opened at the Oracle shopping centre in Reading on 10 October. It will now close after pressure from local gay rights groups and a media row around the causes it has historically supported.
The Oracle shopping centre said it would not renew its lease and that it “was the right thing to do” but did not address why it had offered the lease in the first place, given Chick-fil-A’s controversial record was well-known.
The BBC reports:
The Oracle said: “We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further.”
Reading Pride said The Oracle’s decision was “good news”, adding the six-month period was a “reasonable request… to allow for re-settlement and notice for employees that have moved from other jobs”.
But the organisation said it would continue to campaign against the outlet until it left. Chick-fil-A had previously told the BBC: “Our giving has always focused on youth and education. We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda. There are 145,000 people – black, white; gay, straight; Christian, non-Christian – who represent Chick-fil-A.”
Chick-Fil-A opened its first UK location last week.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 18, 2019