An anti-Chick-fil-A protester holds a sign outside a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant in Hollywood, Calif.

Tess Vigeland: You may have heard yesterday was Chick-fil-A appreciation day. Hungry fans of the chain showed their support for its president, Dan Cathy, and his views opposing gay marriage by devouring a record number of chicken sandwiches -- with two pickles each. Protesters and gay marriage supporters plan what they're calling a kiss-in tomorrow at various Chick-fil-A outposts.

Marketplace's Shereen Marisol Meraji tells us franchisees are caught in the middle.


Shereen Meraji: The Jim Henson Company used to provide toys for Chick-fil-A's kids meals.

Kermit the Frog: It's not easy being green.

That's not happening anymore. The mayors of San Francisco, Boston and Chicago spoke out against the fast-food chain. And in response, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee called for a day of appreciation. In places like Liberty, Mo., the lines were blocks long.

 

 

 

That YouTube video is from someone in Liberty waiting to buy a chicken sandwich yesterday. Nobody from Chick-fil-A's corporate headquarters is doing interviews, but in a statement they said it was a record day for business.

Chris Morran: What's being left out of a lot of this discussion are the thousands and thousands of Chick-fil-A employees who are stuck in the middle -- either being treated like they are a part of a great crusade or being treated like they are part of a bad empire.

Chris Morran is the deputy editor of TheConsumerist.com. He says CEOs shouldn't make political statements, especially when independent franchisees are involved. A Chick-fil-A operator in Nashua, N.H., has been getting press for agreeing to donate sandwiches to an upcoming gay-pride event. When I called Anthony Piccolo, he refused an interview. In a statement he said, "As an independent franchise operator, I am dedicated to supporting our local community in the best way possible."

Chick-fil-A hotline: Thank you for calling the Chick-fil-A corporate public relations hotline.

Franchise owners I called refused to speak on the record. Most sent me to the corporate hotline. And the Chick-fil-A feud is not over yet. Tomorrow, gay rights activists will hold "Same Sex Kiss Day" at Chick-fil-A.

I'm Shereen Marisol Meraji for Marketplace.

About the author

Shereen Marisol Meraji is a reporter for Marketplace’s Wealth & Poverty Desk.

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