Chick-fil-A is taking the spot of Gen Z teens’ favorite US restaurant chain, Business Insider reports. The top rank may come as a surprise to those familiar with criticism toward Chick-fil-A’s history of donating to anti-LGBTQ groups.
The ranking comes from Piper Sandler’s biannual survey of teenagers. They surveyed 9,800 teenagers across the US, with an average age of 15.8 years. Chick-fil-A ranked in the top spot for both high-income and low-come households.
Chick-fil-A has faced backlash for its donations (including those of its executives) for years, according to USA Today. Before 2012, the chain donated to anti-LGBTQ groups, while CEO Dan Cathy openly opposed same-sex marriage. The donations, and Cathy’s views, contributed to the company’s anti-LGBT reputation. Activists called for a boycott of the fast-food chain.
Following the widespread backlash, Chick-fil-A stopped nearly all of their donations to controversial organizations, except for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, in 2012. Last year, the company confirmed it would no longer donate to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, Business Insider reports.
Gen Z Highlights Their Controversial Love
The love for Chick-fil-A and how it may conflict with their identity/allyship within the LGBTQ community is not lost on Gen Z. While Chick-fil-A has halted the controversial donations, advocates still criticize those who openly express their love for Chick-fil-A while claiming they’re an ally.
Critics claim that people cannot say they are allies while still giving financial support to a business that is known to have an anti-LGTBQ reputation.
However, similar to how Gen Z has approached multiple other topics (like their fight to save the USPS), many have taken up a tongue-in-cheek approach when it comes to Chick-fil-A. For the most part, people on this side of the argument claim that while those at the corporate level are making the anti-LGBTQ decisions, they still enjoy their Chick-fil-A experience. They argue that they’ve never experienced negativity from employees in-store and franchise locations. More importantly, they love the chain’s food and are unwilling to give it up.
On TikTok, many younger users tend to take up this side of the argument, often making light of their love for Chick-fil-A.