Why My Feathers Are Ruffled Over Chick-Fil-A

Who is really getting hurt in a Chick-Fil-A Boycott?

This whole Chick-Fil-A incident has “my feathers ruffled.”  Why you might ask?  Thanks for asking, this has been brewing like “sweet tea” in my brain since it started.  I’m a franchise owner too.  I’m not a Chick-Fil-A franchisee, although I wouldn’t have minded being one this last week.  I wouldn’t mind a 2 hour line to get into my business, but I digress.

So Dan Cathy said something that he believes from the bottom of his heart, and some disagree with him.  Well, who exactly do you think you are hurting by boycotting Chick-Fil-A?

Dan Cathy is not in the business of selling chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and lemonade.   Mr. Cathy is in the business of selling franchises.  So if you don’t like Mr. Cathy’s religious beliefs or his political beliefs then, please, by all means…..do not buy a Chick-Fil-A franchise.

I made sure to have lunch this week at Chick-Fil-A before I knew about the Wednesday Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.  Why?  It had nothing to do with my opinion on what Mr. Cathy said, but it had everything to do with supporting my local, fellow small business owner.  The franchisees are the ones that will be hurt by a boycott.

I think that some people don’t realize that franchises are not owned by the Corporation.  These are your local neighbors who purchased a small business.  The work hard, long hours to support their families like everyone else.  The irony of being self-employed is that all of your friends and neighbors think you must be wealthy.  I have been self-employed for the past 27+ years, and I will tell you, there have been times, that I never worked harder for less money.   I am pretty sure, some of these Chick-Fil-A franchisees feel the same way.  They are paying their mortgages, and most likely a loan on their franchise.  So please think about the  small business owners first, when someone calls for a boycott.

When I bought my franchises I did not ask the CEO about his political or religious preferences.  And I have been thinking what if the CEO of my franchise said something to upset my customers.  A boycott of my business would pretty much ruin me and my fellow franchisees within days.  I may or may not agree with the CEO, but we as franchisees would still suffer.  I was so happy to see the people who came out in mass to support these franchises.

I know, I know, a lot of them were there to support Dan Cathy, but so what.  Men died so that you, and me and Dan Cathy can express our opinion.  That is what it means to live in a FREE society.  Click on the song lyrics below.

And I’m Proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m Free,

and I won’t forget the men to died, and gave that right to me.

So I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.

Cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God Bless The USA.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

gini lester August 03, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I'm all for free speech. But what I see in the long line of people waiting to exercise their purchasing power is people who want to give money to prevent me my rights. You see that particular corporation uses some of its money to give to groups that actively try to prevent me from "the pursuit of happiness." Some of the groups they give to are classed as hate groups. I am a member of an oppressed minority. We will never have enough money or votes to win our rights. We are dependent upon allies to help us. But now our allies are in line at this chicken corporation because they "support free speech."
Roland August 03, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Jean, with all due respect, Boo Hoo. Any smart business person who's looking to get into franchising should do their due dilligence. This includes completing an exhaustive company background search and asking lots of questions. A simple Google search on this chain prior to the CEOs announcement should have generated plenty of questions. The bottom line is that any smart business owner needs to know who they are getting into bed and understanding how it will impact your business. To franchisers who are upset, YOU chose the franchise so feel free to do the walk of shame home if you don't agree with their ideology.
gini lester August 03, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I wonder why it takes so long to "get approval" for a posting about "free speech"? 5 hours and waiting.
The Other Christine August 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Good news: you can own a ChikFilA AND support the gay community. They're doing it right in New Hampshire... http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/08/03/going-rogue-new-hampshire-chick-fil-a-will-sponsor-gay-pride-fest/ I agree with the other posts; I'm not going to go to ChikFilA and throw eggs at the building- or the workers, but I don't feel the need to throw my money at them either.
Jean Kuhn August 03, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Gini, Thanks for your comment. I think the one thing that makes this country great, is that we all: you, me Dan Cathy can stand up for what we believe in. I financially support causes I believe in, none of them are political or religious. I have no opinion what-so-ever on where he donates his money. I believe you, and me and Mr. Cathy have that freedom. My whole blog is about who really is getting hurt here, and while you aren't supporting CFA, your God given right, and I support your right to do that. I just want people to think about the small business people who are employing the young people of your community. Thanks, I do value your comments.
Jean Kuhn August 03, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Roland, Thanks for your comments. I am curious, are you a business owner or an employee? I have been doing a ton of google searches, and called a couple of CFA franchise owners to do a little research, and I'm still finding it difficult to find in print where Dan Cathy donates his money. Not that it is ANY of my business.
gini lester August 04, 2012 at 12:04 AM
fyi http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201103220005 http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/ideology/anti-gay/active_hate_groups
Roland August 04, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Hi jean, I am a business owner who's investigated franchise opportunities over the years. I've done my due dilligence and decided that the only reputation risk i want my business exposed to is my own. That hard to find Google article is here- http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/04/us/taking-sides-on-chick-fil-a-is-a-temptation-few-can-resist.html
Roland August 04, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Hi jean, I am a business owner who's investigated franchise opportunities over the years. I've done my due dilligence and decided that the only reputation risk i want my business exposed to is my own. That hard to find Google article is here- http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/04/us/taking-sides-on-chick-fil-a-is-a-temptation-few-can-resist.html and http://www.advocate.com/business/2012/08/01/companies-are-bankrolling-right-wing-attack-ads
Scott August 04, 2012 at 09:16 AM
-"I think that some people don’t realize that franchises are not owned by the Corporation." Jean, if you had done a little research you would have found a Forbes article from 2007 that says, "Chick-fil-A pays for the land, the construction and the equipment. It then rents everything to the franchisee for 15% of the restaurant's sales plus 50% of the pretax profit remaining." The operator has to only come up with a 5000 dollar franchise fee. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2007/0723/080.html Another google search lead me to an article that broke down who gets donations from Chick-fil-A. http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201207020001 That is why I won't eat at a Chick-fil-A. A good portion of the money any Chick-fil_A franchise makes goes to the Cathy family who then spends some of that money on discrimination. Dan Cathy has the right to say what ever he wants and I have the right to keep my money away from him.
Jean Kuhn August 04, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Hi Cynthia, Thanks for your comments. I did read the Forbes article with an open mind. I will now tell you I would not pass a CFA franchisee interview. I swear and don't go to church regurlarly. I wholeheartedly respect your opinion. When I read that Forbes article I saw a lot of good things that CFA does. And to be honest, if I were running the business model they have set up, giving someone an unbelievable business opportunity to get into business for $5000 I absolutely would have my rules and requirements that they would have to agree with and follow. One, would be they have to be open on Sunday. While you see Cathy benefitting, I see a franchisee just trying to make a living for his family. Where you see hate on Cathy's part, I see a man standing up for what he believes, just like you and so many others are. Whether or not I agree with it is not the point. What you don't see is that I have spent the past 25+ years supporting small business people through trainings, conferences, selling, coaching, speaking, and workshops. I'm not going to change your mind or anyone else's. We are looking at two different things. I also want to say I am not going to get into a discussion over what CFA does with their money. That is not what this blog was about. We all have causes we financially support. Mine is rescue dogs. What's yours?
LMS August 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Chick-Fil-A headquarters are in Georgia, where discrimination against the LGBT community is legal. Their stringent discriminatory screening to keep out openly gay franchise owners and employees is legal in Georgia, but recently they're begun branching out into states that have anti-discrimination laws in place. Their corporate culture will face legal roadblocks and community backlash in states that prohibit LGBT discrimination. No franchise owner is going to get through that screening process not understanding what they're getting into. You are arguing that franchise owners wanting to make a living for their family can either (a) make it through the Chick-Fil-A screening process honestly, sharing the corporation's anti-civil rights beliefs and policies or (b) squeak though by hiding their intention to disregard corporate policy, braving any future consequences later, and accepting the fact that a portion of their store profits will benefit hate groups. You are arguing that the rest of us should condone this behavior because these franchise owners are just trying to feed their families, and giving money to anti-civil right hate groups is comparable to donating money to groups benefitting dog rescue. This is a civil rights issue, not an issue of the LGBT community wanting to take food from franchise owners' families. Chick-Fil-A can acknowledge civil rights, franchises can thrive, and we can all enjoy their chicken. How about that solution?
Jean Kuhn August 04, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I'm NOT arguing anything, boycott- don't boycott, we are all free to make that decision, just saying think about the small business owner first. If you did and you still want to boycott, I defend your right to do that. Just as I defend cathy's right to believe what he does. That is what makes this a FREAKING AWESOME country to live in.
LMS August 04, 2012 at 04:51 PM
If you're not actively arguing the points mentioned in my previous post then you are tacitly implying those points as a result of your ignorance or disinterest in the facts of this specific situation. Either way, the effect created by sharing this article in a public media source are the same. I'm getting the impression you'd like to argue for small business owners without dirtying your hands with the Chick-Fil-A civil rights controversy. In this specific instance the two can't be teased apart. We all have the right to our opinions, and the resulting obligation to face the consequences for those opinions. This is obvious. We all know. We all agree. What we don't have is the right to discriminate based on sexual orientation in a list of states that includes Illinois, Massachusetts, and California. That puts the Chick-Fil-A discussion on a level far beyond, "I defend Cathy's right to believe what he does." Fierce protection of civil rights make this a FREAKING AWESOME country to live in, and the small business owners affiliated with Chick-Fil-A need to get on board with that fundamental tenet of life in the United States.
DRECKS August 05, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Jean, Most people understand the point of your article. Their are always ones that want to twist things around to meet their agenda so they can climb on a soapbox. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but if its different to yours it doesn't mean hate. I put money in the collection plate on Sunday at my Christian church so I must be donating to hate groups.
Jean Kuhn August 05, 2012 at 04:39 PM
DRECKS, I was just thinking the same thing. Thanks for your comment. On my actual blog site someone asked what would be an alternate solution would be to boycotting. There is one. I'm posting the bog site here. If anyone wants to post on there respectfully, go ahead, those who don't, their comments won't be approved, and deleted, because that is my site and my right. www.bounce-solutions.com/blog
LMS August 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Jean, this is why writing articles without a full understanding of the facts is dangerous. People like Drecks will skim over the facts pertaining to the unique business model of Chick-Fil-A (including their unusually stringent "operator" screening process) and the predicament created when the state laws of Chick-Fil-A's corporate HQ enable a discriminatory culture incompatible with the laws of many states they seek to expand into. A sizable percentage of Patch readers will just blindly back up anyone they perceive to be saying, "Yay! Go Chick-Fil-A!" We all understood the point of your article. Some of us just happen to understand that you've missed the mark with this article due to the uniqueness of the Chick-Fil-A business model. You clearly are an intelligent and articulate person, Jean. Please contribute to the solution rather than the problem the next time you share time and talent with us. The Drecks of this world have enough other articles and blogs to tack their pointlessly repetitive, "Everyone has a right to their opinion!" comments onto.
Mouse August 05, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Don't bother. She ran away from this same discussion in the La Grange Patch knowing she can't defend that position.
Mouse August 05, 2012 at 08:04 PM
And here we have the classic false equivalency gambit. I would like to remind you that by making such a statement ("so I must be donating to hate groups") you have exposed you own lack of understanding of the issue, or you're just trying to derail the discussion. Neither of them put you in a good light.
Tia LS August 05, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Jean, I apologize for deleting my post before you had replied. Now it appears as if your comment happened in a vacuum and that was not my intention.
Jean Kuhn August 05, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Cynthia, I just assumed you changed your mind and agreed with me :-) I'm just kidding. THank you for posting yesterday, and I completely understand and respect your comments.
LMS August 06, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Hey there, Mouse. I think she ran away from your use of facts and logic and is currently taking up residence in a private blog where comments like yours and mine can be deleted. It's just as well. I will follow your advice to ~not bother~ and unplug from the Patch for awhile. Too depressing!
Logansdad August 06, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Jean: "The franchisees are the ones that will be hurt by a boycott." I understand how you feel from the perspective of a small business owner, but shouldn't your frustration be directed at the person who is causing the controversy and not the public? If you are a franchise owner and the president of the company makes statements like Cathy did, I would think that your frustration should be directed at the person who made the controversial statements. In my opinion, it is that individual that is not looking after the best interests of the franchise owners.
John Roberts August 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Ok this makes no sense...First go after a company for basing their opinion,threaten to boycot,sue to shut them down,protest and call the owners out.thats not being racist? Trying to damage a company because you do not like their stand on gay marriage....an opinion...so as a human being their supposed to just change their opinion to satisfy people...or have their opinion and company attacked. What sense does this make....Pro gay member can be just as racist.acting hateful because of someone sloes thoughts or beliefs.....One day when you wake up and wonder why you have no family,no kids and on your death bed you realize your family name dies with you,no one else from you to carry on your side of the family then you have to answer to your self. If you do not reproduce then your family dies with you. Reproduction is how we were all born in case you forgot that.Sure you can adopt say what you want that child you adopted has a family name to carry on in reality.You just changed the name to suit your actions.Otherwise you would leave your adopted childs name alone and let he or she carry on their real families name good or bad.But to go after a company and make others lose their jobs because of an opinion is more racist than one man walking up to another and calling them a name.
DRECKS August 06, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I'm with ya John !
Jean Kuhn August 06, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Hi Logansdad, Thanks for your comment. I think the part that people are missing here is that I am not frustrated at anyone. "My feathers were just ruffled" over this. And I agree with you that when a franchisor makes statements like that it hurts the franchisees. And I understand that people want to make this a civil rights issue. This blog is and always will be about small business and small business owners. This is not the forum to do it in. They should be putting their money where their mouth is and supporting the groups they here "defending". That would be the way to have their voice hear. We all have a voice, and if someone wants to boycott CFA I defend their right to do that. Just as I defend your right to state your voice, and I defend Cathy's right to his opinion. What people see though when they read this is "I defend Dan Cathy". But that is not what I said, I said, "I defend his right to his OPINION." I have never said one way or the other how I feel about Cathy. And I won't. That was not the point for perspective of my blog. My blog is just my opinion, and I chose to look at it from a different perspective than other people were. Probably because I am a small business owner, and a franchise owner. And if my franchisor made comments that caused a boycott of my system, I would be pissed. I support hard working American small business owners. :-)
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