TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The United Kingdom’s first Chick-fil-A will soon be no more.
According to BBC, the fast-food chain opened its first UK outlet at The Oracle, a shopping mall in Reading on Oct. 10.
However, a spokeswoman for the mall says it will not be extending the franchise’s initial six-month lease because it’s the “right thing to do.”
The moves comes after gay rights campaigners called for a boycott of the fast-food chain, which has drawn the ire of advocacy groups in both the UK and North America for “being hostile to LGBT rights.”
In 2012, CEO Dan Cathy sparked backlash after he said: “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families.”
And over the years, the company has reportedly donated millions of dollars to groups opposing same-sex marriage.
“The chain’s ethos and moral stance goes completely against our values, and that of the UK as we are a progressive country that has legalised same sex marriage for some years, and continues to strive towards equality,” Reading Pride, a lesbian, gay, bi, transgender advocacy group, which started the protest, said in a statement.
The mall said: “We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further.”
The restaurant will stay open for six months to allow for employee settlement.
Reading Pride called the decision “good news,” and said the timeframe was a “reasonable request… to allow for re-settlement and notice for employees that have moved from other jobs”.
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