A tale of two Chickies: Toronto's Chick-Felays mistakenly drawn into Chick-fil-A's anti-gay furor
The heat Chick-fil-A has been taking over its stance on same-sex marriage has ignited north of the border and a small Ontario chain has unwittingly been singed by the firestorm.
The Georgia-based chain Chick-fil-A, which serves chicken-related fast-food items including chicken burgers, boasts over 1,600 across the U.S. (but none in Canada). The company is influenced by its founder's religious beliefs and has donated over $5 million to anti-gay groups since 2003. Company president Dan Cathy sparked both praise and protests when he made comments in June against gay marriage.
In comparison, the similarly named Canadian franchise Chick-Felays is also a chicken restaurant chain.
But in contrast, Chick-Felays specializes in Portuguese-style, peri peri–seasoned chicken and is halal-certified, and has a whopping total of four restaurants in or near the Greater Toronto area (with three more locations opening soon).
Chick-Felays staff became confused when customers came in to complain about or praise the discriminatory nature of the company.
After discovering what the comments were about, Chick-Felays founder Nabeel Khan has had to go into damage control to differentiate his company from the American chain.
“It shocks me that people would ask ‘How can you discriminate?’ How could you think that? We’re brown people,” he told the Toronto Star with a laugh.
On a more serious note, he added that Cathy's approach was unwise for someone working in the service industry and also has some advice for Cathy. “I would tell him to smarten up. Think before you open your mouth. I would tell him that not hurting people, even with words, is what humanity is all about.”
Protests, including kiss-ins, have been held at Chick-fil-A locations across the U.S., even prompting straight guys (comedians Skyler Stone and Mike Smith) to join in the outrage with their own man-to-man action.