UK's first Chick-fil-A to close after LGBT+ backlash

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Chick-fil-A to close debut UK restaurant after LGBT backlash

Related tags: US chain

US fast food chain Chick-fil-A is to close its debut UK restaurant following criticism from LGBT+ groups.

Charity Reading Pride called for a boycott of the site over the company's reported historic donations to anti-LGBT+ organisations.

The chicken chain opened in Reading's Oracle shopping centre on 10 October,​ ​but a spokesperson for the centre told the BBC​ ​it has now decided not to extend the company's lease beyond its six-month pilot period.

Chick-fil-A was founded in 1967 and operates over 2,000 sites in North America. 

It faced a boycott in the US after its CEO made comments opposing same-sex marriage in 2012, and has been criticised for past donations to organisations​ ​with alleged anti-LGBT+ policies.

The company says it has “no social or political agenda” and focuses its charitable donations on youth and education programmes.

Reading Pride says in a statement: “In conversation with The Oracle, we have been told that Chick-fil-A will not trade beyond its current six-month pilot period.

“The Oracle management have also stated they will review their selection process and ensure a more thorough check is in place.

“The reason for allowing [Chick-fil-A] to remain for six months is to allow for re-settlement and notice for employees that have moved from other jobs.”

A planned peaceful protest against the restaurant chain organised by Reading Pride​ will still go ahead on 19 October.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson says: “Chick-fil-A is always evaluating potential new locations in the hope of serving customers great food and award winning service. This six-month pilot licensed location was part of our exploration in international markets.”

Related topics: Openings

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