Chick-fil-A thrives, gives finger to gay haters

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All that huffing and puffing and protesting about Chick-fil-A’s fruitcake dilemma, Muppets hating ways and anti-gay donations has amounted to … a bump in business for the Atlanta-based restaurant chain. Chew, swallow and digest that, LGBT protesters.

But it’s not like the results of a new report from research specialist Sandelman & Associates should be a surprise. Last year, the chicken chain enjoyed an 11 percent jump in sales.

This time around, even a summer of fever-pitch activism over President Dan Cathy’s comments chastising LGBT gay marriage advocates didn’t dent the company.

So much for “bad” PR. Consumer use of the chain was up 2.2% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2011, says the Sandelman survey of more than 30,000 fast-food consumers conducted in markets where Chick-fil-A is located. Market share was up 0.6%, and total ad awareness was up a hefty 6.5%.

Put another way, Chick-fil-A may not be unflappable but it is unstoppable. So says PR people who are experts in this sort of thing, according to USA Today.

Chick-fil-A, too, seems unstoppable. “There was a lot of talk that this would hurt Chick-fil-A, but it actually helped the brand,” says Jeff Davis, president of Sandelman. During the third quarter, Chick-fil-A broadened its regular customer base in 28 of 35 media markets, he says.

Chick-fil-A, in a perfect position to crow over its chicken success, declined to comment.

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