According to the New York Times, LGBT advocacy groups in England have succeeded in convincing The Oracle shopping center in Reading not to renew Chick-fil-A's lease, leading the company to announce that it permanently close the Reading location at the end of this six month period.
Chick-fil-A opened their first store in the United Kingdom in Reading on October 10th. An LGBT group, Reading Pride, immediately sprang into action, organizing a protest called "Get the Chick Out" that was designed to close down the restaurant. As part of the protest, activists stood outside The Oracle shopping center and held signs and chanted at customers.
Standing in solidarity with @Reading_Pride #GetTheChickOut https://t.co/N3yhOvPCl2— Newbury Pride (@Newbury Pride) 1571481878.0
Reports indicated that in spite of the protests, the Reading Chick-fil-A was doing brisk business; however, management of The Oracle decided to cave to the protesters. In a statement released by Reading Pride, the group claimed that the mall had promised to "review their selection process" for future tenants in order to avoid angering the group in the future.
#GetTheChickOut #rdguk update: In conversation with @OracleReading we have been told that @ChickfilA will not trad… https://t.co/zhGiaBxbZ9— Reading Pride UK (@Reading Pride UK) 1571383800.0
A spokesman for The Oracle declined to provide a comment on the issue to the Times.
While Chick-fil-A was initially reported to be considering an expansion into the London market, a spokesman for the company sounded a much more cautious note to the Times on the possibility of expanding elsewhere in England after the Reading experience, saying only, "We are always looking and learning, and do so through pop-up locations, but nothing else to share right now."
Chick-fil-A has likewise been the target of numerous protests by LGBT groups in the United States ever since the company's CEO Dan Cathy admitted in 2012 to donating groups that supported the "biblical definition of the family unit," but has nonetheless grown to become the third-largest fast food chain in the country, behind only McDonald's and Starbucks, in spite of the fact that Chick-fil-A only operates six days a week and has far fewer locations than many fast food chains.