The Dark Truth Behind America's Most Beloved Fast Food Chain


Chicken sandwich, possible side of homophobia?

According to the 2016 American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report, Chick-fil-A, a company that has been riddled with public relations problems related to homophobia in the past, is the fast food chain that ranks highest in customer satisfaction, CNN Money reported Tuesday.

The chain earned a whopping score of 87 out of 100, with Papa John's (seriously, America?) coming in second place with a score of 82. The survey noted customer satisfaction increased across the board since last year, CNN Money reported.

This marks the second year Chick-fil-A has earned the top spot in ACSI's rankings. Last year was Chick-fil-A's debut year in the rankings, since it had a relatively small market share before then, Forrest Morgeson, director of research for ACSI, said in a phone interview. 

"To see them up there at that high level is really quite unusual," Morgeson said, attributing Chick-fil-A's success to the fact that they have a selective menu that they execute well. 

"It doesn't try to be everything for everybody," he said. In comparison, Morgeson noted McDonald's has tried everything (ribs, fish sandwiches, kale salads, green burgers — you name it) to woo customers. Mickey D's received a score of 69.

Despite the glowing satisfaction ratings, Chick-fil-A has a not-so-harmonious relationship with LGBTQ communities. Current president and CEO Dan Cathy made a series of comments condemning same-sex marriage on a national talk show in 2012, when he was the company's COO. 

Cathy and his father, the founder of Chick-fil-A, align with Christian values, which explains why the locations do not open on Sundays. Cathy has since expressed regret that the chain became linked with the debate around same-sex marriage, Time reported in 2014, citing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Chik-fil-A employees recently made an exception and opened on a Sunday to provide free food for people in Orlando, Florida, who were waiting in line to donate blood after the shooting at gay nightclub Pulse. 

Since 2012, the chain has tried to strip its anti-gay reputation. It states it does not discriminate against customers or employees based on sexual orientation. 

Was the support given in Orlando motivated by sympathy for the LGBTQ communities or a more general sympathy for a mass shooting? It's unclear if or when the company will publicly support Pride Month or same-sex marriage. 

In 2014, Burger King debuted a Proud Whopper during Pride Month. In the 2016 satisfaction rankings, the "Home of the Whopper" scored a measly 76, a whole 11 points behind Chick-fil-A, CNN Money reported.

When it comes to fast food, does taste trump politics? 

At least one Twitter user seems to think so. @AG_Conservative tweeted in July 2014: "I don't care about Burger King or Chick-Fil-A's views on gay marriages. I do care about how their food tastes. Chick-Fil-A > Burger King."

In a country that's earned the nickname "Fast Food Nation," maybe this shouldn't come as such a surprise.

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