Chick-fil-A to close U.K. location

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Chick-fil-A logo

Chick-fil-A’s first foray into an overseas market has been marked by controversy. 

The U.S. fast-food giant opened a site at The Oracle shopping center in Reading, England, on Oct. 10. But the shopping center has already said it will not extend the restaurant’s lease, citing pressure from local LGBTQ rights group Reading Pride, reported the BBC.

“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 Oracle stated. 

Chick-fil-A, which ranks as the nation’s third largest restaurant chain by sales, has faced criticism at home for donations to certain groups that some consider anti-LGBTQ. In March, the company lost out on a contract to open a location at the San Antonio International Airport after some city council members raised concerns with the brand’s record on LGBTQ issues.

In opposing Chick-fil-A, the Reading Pride group in the U.K. cited donations the chain made to three specific organizations, including the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, that it said have a reputation of being hostile to LGBT rights. Chick-fil-A had previously told the BBC: "Our giving has always focused on youth and education. We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda.”