Chick-fil-A plans to open several new stores throughout the country and in New York City this year, said Chick-fil-A media representative Kim Hardcastle.
“Many of the approximately 100 restaurants we open this year will be in urban areas, [but] we have not yet solidified locations in New York City,” Hardcastle said. “Once we have a location identified, we look forward to confirming that we will be able to serve our customers in metro Manhattan.”
For many years, the only Chick-fil-A — an express venue — in New York City has been in Weinstein food court, attracting students, tourists and controversy.
Chick-fil-A came under fire when company president Dan Cathy said he did not support gay marriage in a 2012 statement. Cathy made the statement after reports that he had donated money to anti-gay-marriage organizations surfaced. Some NYU students strongly opposed Cathy’s actions and started a petition to close the Chick-fil-A at NYU in January 2012.
Many New Yorkers have protested the chain’s proposed expansion, announced in USA Today on April 8. LGBTQ groups such as the Empire State Pride Agenda have released statements opposing Chick-fil-A’s growth.
GLS sophomore Ashley Slater disagrees with Chick-fil-A’s position on gay marriage but said the company can choose its own political stance.
“I make the personal choice not to go there and I will continually make that choice, no matter how many Chick-fil-As are in the city,” Slater said. “They have the right to have their own opinions and expand, but I also have the right to spend my money elsewhere.”
Stern freshman Julia Soete said the company should be separate from Cathy’s views.
“The owner’s conservative views should be kept separate from the from the company’s ability to expand,” Soete said.
Despite the owner’s opposition to same-sex marriage, Tisch junior Brian Blum said he supports the chain’s expansion in New York City. Blum, who identifies as gay, noted that Chick-fil-A has still offered fair employment opportunities to LGBTQ individuals.
“To my knowledge Chick-fil-A has never fired a person for being gay, and the owners of the company are entitled to their own personal beliefs so long as they don’t let their opinions get in the way of equal employment opportunity,” Blum said.
Anthony Mcintosh, a freshman at Borough of Manhattan Community College, said he would like to see the restaurant chain expand for an authentic experience that he feels NYU’s franchise does not offer.
“I am a long-time fan of the restaurant’s food, and after I moved to [New York City] I was shocked to find out the only Chick-fil-A was at NYU,” Mcintosh said. “My experience trying NYU’s nauseating chicken sandwich with a Chick-fil-A logo on the wrapper was awful, nothing like a chicken sandwich at a real Chick-fil-A store.”
Other urban areas the franchise plans to expand into are Chicago and Los Angeles.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 16 print edition. Daniela Sorgente is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]