Controversial chain Chick-fil-A quietly opened second UK outlet in Scotland - despite LGBT row

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The US food chain, which funds several anti-LGBTQ organisations and causes, has secretly opened another branch in the Highlands, despite facing backlash after opening an outlet in Reading

Controversial food outlet Chick-fil-A quietly opened an eatery in a resort in Cairngorms National Park, Aviemore.

While the eatery was met with a loud backlash in England, guests who visited the chain in the resort gave the shop significantly more positive reviews.

While the eatery was met with a loud backlash in England, guests who visited the chain in the resort gave the shop significantly more positive reviews.

The US food chain, whose licence was revoked by The Oracle shopping centre in Reading following protests over the company's consistent funding of anti-LGBTQ organisations and causes, has opened a second outlet in a popular hotel chain as part of an "ongoing exploration," a Scottish local newspaper reported.

The shop opened "around three weeks ago", according to the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, and is part of hotel chain Macdonalds' Aviemore Resort.

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Mixed reviews

The hotel in Cairngorms National Park, Aviemore, is a four-star resort, with four eateries onsite, including chicken shop Chick-fil-A.

While the eatery was met with a loud backlash in England, guests who visited the chain in the resort gave the shop significantly more positive reviews.

A Macdonald Hotel spokesperson told the Herald: “A Chick-fil-A location has opened at our Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

“Chick-fil-A has already proved very popular with our guests and we are happy to be able to provide this quality food expense as an option.”

One guest on Twitter said the American food chain "lives up to expectations," on 16 October, with others sharing positive reviews on TripAdvisor, according to PinkNews.

In Reading, a spokesperson from The Oracle announced it would not be renewing the shop's licence after protests, stating it would not be extending the shop's stay after its contracted six-month stay.

A spokesperson for Reading Pride said the decision was "good news," and would allow for "re-settlement and notice for employees that have moved from other jobs."

Chick-fil-A's controversial history

The chain, that has also been prohibited from opening several sites in America, has a long history of supporting anti-LGBT causes.

In a statement, a spokesperson 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."

In the last year, the chain donated $1.6m to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2019, an organisation vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage.

Mr Cathy Sr, who created the first shop in Georgia and died in 2014, also funded anti-gay charities like the Marriage & Family Foundation, the National Christian Organisation, the Georgia Family Council, and Exodus International, a group that promotes gay and transgender conversion therapy.

The current CEO and son of the founder, Dan Cathy, a Southern Baptist, has not released any public comments on his LGBTQ+ views since he called same-sex marriage an act of arrogance against God, giving US consumers a moral choice over their bible belt chicken.

While campaigners staged kiss-ins, boycotts, same-sex weddings outside of Chick-fil-As and mass demonstrations, others investigated the chain's company accounts, where records of millions of dollars of donations to anti-LGBTQ organisations came to light.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson said: “Chick-fil-A is always evaluating potential new locations in the hope of serving customers great food and award-winning service.

“The Macdonald Aviemore Resort gives us an opportunity to learn and gain a stronger understanding of local consumer tastes and preferences as part of our ongoing exploration.”

i has contacted Macdonald Hotels for comment.

This story originally appeared in the i.