According to the Hartford Courant, a McDonald’s in Glastonbury, Connecticut, posted a genial but interesting message on its sign ahead of the opening of a Chick-fil-A restaurant next door.
The sign read, “We welcome everyone.” While this message is not inflammatory by itself, it’s proximity to the new Chick-fil-A has caught the attention of passersby. Chick-fil-A has often faced scrutiny for the company’s stance towards the LGBTQ community after the president of the chain, Dan Cathy, spoke out against same-sex relationships and marriages in 2012. Later on, it was revealed that the company had donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations.
However, the general manager of the Glastonbury McDonald’s, Susan Lefleur, claims that it was not the fast food chain’s intention to spark any sort of controversy.
“It has nothing to do with Chick-fil-A. We try to come up with something cute,” Lefleur said. According to Lefleur, she and her staff often create new phrases to catch people’s attention, insisting that the sign was going to have some kind of message one way or another. Lefleur also claimed that the message on the sign has been there for three weeks, and no one has come in to the store to say anything about it, let alone complain.
Despite Lefleur’s claims and intentions, Reddit users from the area interpreted the sign differently, posting a photo of the sign and captioning it “Fast food war begins in Glastonbury.” The post quickly started a heated dialogue about Chick-fil-A’s attitude toward the LGBTQ community with many Reddit users questioning if the company had actively discriminated against the gay and transgender community. The owner of the new Chick-fil-A restaurant, which is scheduled to open this Thursday, was unable to comment.
Ever since Cathy’s comments in 2012, “Georgia-based Chick-fil-A has released statements declaring that it treats every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation.” Additionally, after the fatal shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando back in 2016, the restaurant chain donated food to blood donors on the one day of the week they are usually closed. The chain, however, is still often associated with more conservative political and social views. An article in the New Yorker recently referred to Chick-fil-A’s connection to conservative groups as “creepy.”
In spite of this, Chick-fil-A remains the third largest fast food chain in the United States and is expected to grow exponentially by 2020. So far, the new restaurant in Glastonbury is just the ninth store to open in Connecticut.