Chick-fil-A opens near SF town line
Long reviled by members of the LGBTQ community, chicken sandwich vendor Chick-fil-A is opening its new Bay Area location just minutes from the San Francisco city line. Perched above Interstate 280 in Daly City, the chain’s distinctive red signage is hard to miss for drivers heading to San Francisco International Airport, Silicon Valley, or the San Mateo Coast.
The Chick-fil-A Serramonte Center opens on November 18 at 6 Serramonte Center on Callan Boulevard outside the mall. It sits across the parking lot from the Macy’s entrance and brings the number of Chick-fil-A locations in the Bay Area to 21, according to the company, as another location in East Bay also opens Thursday.
Susanna Choe, a mother of three with her husband, Philip, is the local operator of the new site on the Peninsula, a two-minute drive from San Francisco. In an emailed statement to the Bay Area Reporter, she urged all members of the local community to stop by in the coming days.
“Everyone is welcome at the Chick-fil-A Serramonte Center. We are excited to serve the community at our new Daly City restaurant, and look forward to providing a remarkable dining experience, ”Choe said.
But most residents of the LGBTQ region are unlikely to be walking through the doors anytime soon. Many in the community refuse to eat at Chick-fil-A due to his history of supporting organizations that promote discredited conversion therapy programs aimed at making LGBTQ people heterosexual.
“It’s kind of a glimpse in the eye, but I also think Northern California is not the right place for them,” said Rafael Mandelman, District 8 gay supervisor, the only LGBTQ member. of the San Francisco Board of Directors. Profile location for the new Daly City outpost.
Mandelman told BAR he had not heard of the company seeking a permit to open in San Francisco, and a spokesperson for the company did not answer a question about its expansion plans in the city. Under San Francisco’s strict chain store rules, it’s unclear whether Chick-fil-A could get clearance to open in Bay City.
Despite the continued growth of the business in the region, to such an extent that it now advertises on local television, Mandelman said, “I hope they fail terribly because the Bay Area rejects what they are doing. defend. “
He has never eaten at a Chick-fil-A and Mandelman has said he has no plans to do so anytime soon due to the fact that the company has “a very bad history of supporting anti-San Francisco values, anti-California values, and supporting people who are fundamentally hostile to gay people. “
As BAR noted two years ago, the Atlanta-based company became a flashpoint in the gay marriage controversy in 2012, when CEO Dan Cathy announced his opposition. The Cathy family donated millions of dollars to groups that promoted conversion therapy and opposed same-sex marriage.
In November 2019, Chick-fil-A announced that he would no longer be donating to two organizations – the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes – which have been regularly criticized for their positions on LGBTQ rights. While the move has garnered praise from LGBTQ advocates, it has been the subject of further criticism this year after it was reported that the Dan and Rhonda Cathy Foundation had donated nearly 6,000 $ a year to the National Christian Charitable Foundation, a vocal opponent of federal government adoption. LGBTQ protections.
The company, which closes on Sundays due to its religious roots, is not the only fast food brand whose donations have been criticized for violating LGBTQ rights. As Business Insider noted in June, Political Action Committees led by McDonald’s, Wendy’s and parent company Yum Brands of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut all donated thousands of dollars to congressional Republicans who voted. against LGBTQ bills.
A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A told BAR that the company “is proud to be represented by over 200,000 diverse team members nationwide, and we strive to be a positive influence. in our local communities. Opening the Serramonte Center, Chick-fil-A will donate $ 25,000 to Feeding America, where the funds will be distributed to partners in the Greater Bay Area to help fight hunger. “
San Mateo County Supervisory Board Chairman David J. Canepa, a direct ally who represents Daly City, had raised objections years ago when Chick-fil-A began opening up on the peninsula. But he then dropped his opposition when the company revised its core giving and began donating to local food banks whenever it opened a new location.
He told the BAR that the situation was not ideal but that he was not going to fight against the last location in the chain, even though he had no plans to eat there. It might make sense, Canepa added, for the company to target its donations to nonprofits fighting hunger in the LGBTQ community.
“I know some people in San Francisco, even here, are kind of disappointed and upset. For me, personally, the illustrious history of the company is one that has just been horrible. We know that,” a declared Canepa. “Are they altar boys and girls?” Probably not, but in the end they changed their policies and that’s where we are. “
The chain remains a target
Yet Chick-fil-A remains a target of LGBTQ advocates and their allies who continue to boycott him. Brittni Kiick, a bisexual member of Livermore City Council, has received angry phone calls from her constituents over her vote in July to open the channel in the town of East Bay.
The board vote was unanimous as the company had met the local requirements it needed to open. Nonetheless, Kiick acknowledged the “damage done to the LGBTQ community by Chick-fil-A” during the meeting and suggested that residents “vote with their dollars and get their fried chicken elsewhere,” as Bay City News reported to the time.
Board member Bob Carling said at the meeting: “I fail to see that the past practices and statements of Chick-fil-A reflect the values we hold at Livermore.” Like Kiick, he has stated that he “will not participate in the purchase of fried chicken from Chick-fil-A”.
Speaking to BAR this week, Kiick said the rejection of the chain’s application would have been a “political coup” and could have opened the door for local business owners to also be denied permits if a member of the council didn’t like their history of political donations.
“I’ve had a lot of private conversations with community members explaining as a board member, if I were to vote no on something like this as a political statement it would become a slippery slope,” Kiick said, one of the organizers of the town’s annual pride event. , which drew 5,000 attendees last month.
The increased tax revenue that Chick-fil-A will bring to city coffers Kiick wants to see help fund affordable housing in Livermore and other needed projects. She also called on those upset at Chick-fil-A to contact their state and federal officials to ask them to support laws banning conversion therapy.
In California, a ban on practicing with young people under the age of 18 went into effect in 2014. But gay Assembly member Evan Low (D-Campbell) has been unable to bring lawmakers state to extend the ban to adults, while congressional efforts to ban anti-LGBTQ practice across the United States have stalled.
“Conversion therapy should absolutely be banned across the country, but as a local elected official I have no control over those bans,” Kiick said. “What we should be doing, rather than fighting for Chick-fil-A, is asking politicians in the Legislature and Congress to ban conversion therapy.”
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