Photo by Jim Massara
Cars waiting for drive-through service trailed out into the street at the Jonesboro Dwarf House Wednesday.
Chick-fil-A’s may be closed on Sundays, but, boy, were they ever busy Wednesday.
Chick-fil-A parking lots across the Southern Crescent were packed at lunch time as customers responded to several social-media campaigns supporting the restaurant chain.
Cars waiting for drive-through service trailed out into the turn lane of Tara Boulevard at the Jonesboro Dwarf House. At a Stockbridge Chick-fil-A, a manager was seen directing traffic in the parking lot. Chick-fil-A founder and Clayton County native Truett Cathy himself was seen at the Stockbridge Dwarf House.
Even as late as 2 p.m., the lot outside the Forest Park Dwarf House across from Fort Gillem was full. A few doors away, the parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was nearly empty. And across the street only two cars were seen lingering in the Checkers drive-through.
While no official sales figures are available, clearly the cows’ fans have spoken.
Chick-fil-A Executive Vice President of Marketing Steve Robinson said in a statement that Wednesday was an “unprecedented” day.
“We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers,” Robinson said.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has been at the center of controversy since company president Dan Cathy’s comments to the Baptist Press “in support of traditional family” went viral. Cathy is one of Truett’s two sons who run the company’s day-to-day operations.
Criticism from gay-friendly groups over the comments inspired several social-media campaigns to counter the criticism. Organized around the theme of “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and slated for Wednesday, one campaign organized by Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee had claimed nearly 650,000 Facebook attendees by late Wednesday. Another page with a similar title had more than 5,000 likes.
Chick-fil-A publicly acknowledged the campaign but officially kept its distance. A statement earlier this week by Robinson instead emphasized the company’s customer service, its food and its desire “to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
One unidentified customer waiting in the turn lane in front of the Jonesboro Dwarf House said she was there for the appreciation day because “I like their food, good food.”
At least she could get into the parking lot.
Leo Hunt, stationed in a delivery truck across the street from the Forest Park Dwarf House, said that he planned to eat at a Chick-fil-A as soon as he could find one that wasn’t so crowded.
“This would be the fifth one I’ve passed,” Hunt said, gesturing to the packed restaurant. “The one in McDonough was actually more crowded than this. There were cars out in the road.”