Monday, August 13, 2012

The Chick-Fil-A Debacle: Takeaways for Small Businesses

For the past couple weeks, the Olympics have has competition: fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A. When Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy said in a statement that,"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage," clearly noting his stance on gay marriage.

Bad publicity isn't good publicity: The old adage "there is no such thing as bad publicity doesn't apply here. Cathy was voicing his personal opiniom, neglecting to put into account that the company he spearheads has an anti-discrimination policy, one that his statement could be seen as violating. After news broke out that WinShape, one of the charitable organizations that Chick-Fil-A funds, donated 2 million dollars to anti-gay organizations, the public responded. Politicians in both Chicago and Boston announced their plan to ban Chick-Fil-A from their cities. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee even went so far as to make August 1 National Chick-Fil-A appreciation day. People packed into 1,600 locations across the country to stand against gay marriage, or for some, free speech. Since Cathy's statement, the LA Times reports that public opinion of the fast food chain is the lowest its been in two years.

Small Business Takeaway: While Dan Cathy holds the right to his own personal opinions, Chick-Fil-A is a franchise business. When the owner's political or social issues become those of the entire company, it doesn't only effect the company, but also its employees. While it is okay to share your personal views, before going in front of the world to voice your opinions, take into account the scope of your actions on other people.

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