Gay Employees Protest Chick-Fil-A Customer Responses

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5StarControl takes on the topic of how Chick-Fil-A’s current decrease in popularity could have been averted and how employees view consumer reactions to the issue

The debate is sure to rage for many years to come, but the effects on local small business marketing that such hot topics can generate are why it is necessary for businesses to have a reputation management plan in place.

While many longtime customers are boycotting the fast food chain, according to RC Bryan & Associates, after Chick-Fil-A’s President admitted to supporting anti-gay marriage groups, people on the other side of the debate are flocking to their local Chick-Fil-A to show their support. This leaves consumer experts wondering how the company’s long term approval rating with the public will affect their sales.

5StarControl has decided to disclose secrets about how businesses can use its reputation management system to prevent a similar dilemma. Local business online marketing site 5StarControl stated that a scandal such as Chick-Fil-A is currently experiencing could seriously affect local business’ reputation and customer approval ratings.

"Chick-Fil-A President, Dan Cathy, opened a political can of worms that could seriously affect the company’s overall sales, and has already affected its popularity with online consumers, when he openly admitted to providing financial support to several anti-gay marriage groups," stated 5StarControl. Employees of Chick-Fil-A are on the frontlines of the debate, taking support and criticism from customers since the issue exploded in the national press after July 16, 2012 (Cathy’s interview in which he stated his support of the biblical definition of marriage). Online consumer reaction has been instant and overwhelmingly opposed to Cathy’s views. Indeed, many customers are using social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp to denigrate the once wildly popular food chain’s reputation.

Chick-Fil-A first opened as a mall franchise in the 1960s, and has since become the most popular mall and free-standing franchise company in the United States, with McDonald’s leading a close second, according to national franchise sales reports from 2010. This is the first time in the company’s history that they have not been at the top of the QSR consumer perception average. While the effects of the anti-gay marriage scandal will not be tabulated until its annual sales can be evaluated, 5StarControl is curious to see the impact to the company’s online reputation. Other businesses are already looking at ways to protect their online marketing and customer satisfaction reviews from a similar occurrence, though not necessarily from the anti-gay marriage debate.

The anti-gay marriage debate stems from a fundamental difference of opinion on the correct definition of marriage. Gay rights activists support the theory that marriage is a contract between two consenting adults, regardless of their sex, thereby supporting same-sex marriages. Fundamentalists and conservatives, on the other hand, support the traditional definition of marriage as a contract between a man and a woman. The debate is sure to rage for many years to come, but the effects on local small business marketing that such hot topics can generate are why it is necessary for businesses to have a reputation management plan in place, says 5StarControl, a website dedicated to helping small businesses with their online marketing needs, SEO, and mobile SEO services, especially when faced with consumer threats to boycott.

Boycotting is an affective consumer tool whereby customers actively abstain from purchasing a company’s goods or services, and is used to negatively impact a company’s policies or procedures by driving their sales profits down. Part of this process affects consumer reviews of the company, which can lead a company into bankruptcy by discouraging new customers to frequent a business.

Consumer reviews are gaining popularity online through the use of sites that grade a business’ performance based on customer feedback. Yelp, for example, allows consumers to comment and grade how satisfied they were with a recent visit to a particular local business. Having negative reviews discourages other users from trying that company’s goods or services based solely on that adverse feedback.

5StarControl knows that a company’s online marketing strategy needs to include protections for that business’ online reputation to avoid the potential negative affect on sales and profits. Chick-Fil-A, because they are a huge corporation, could very possibly survive the current anti-gay marriage debate’s negative publicity on their online reputation, but smaller, locally owned businesses need to be more vigilant about protecting their web presence.

5StarControl is a site that offers solutions for small businesses about online review sites.

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