Chick-fil-A opened the doors of its first United Kingdom restaurant Oct. 10, marking the popular but controversial chicken chain’s second location outside the United States as it seeks to expand internationally. Nine days later, the company announced that it will close the location within six months.
The news came as an LGBTQ group held protests outside the brand-new restaurant at the Oracle Mall in Reading, denouncing the company’s opposition to same-sex marriage. A mall spokesperson told the BBC that the company would not be allowed to stay beyond its initial “six-month pilot period,” calling it the “right thing to do.” But Chick-fil-A said it had always planned to operate there for only a limited time.
“We have been very pleased with the lines since opening Oct. 10 and are grateful for customer response to our food and our approach to customer service,” the company said in an email Saturday, including photos of customers waiting in line. “We mutually agreed to a six-month lease with the Oracle Mall in Reading as part of a longer term strategy for us as we look to expand our international presence.”
Reading Pride, a U.K.-based LGBTQ advocacy group, announced its stance against the restaurant’s opening Oct. 14. In a statement shared on Twitter, the group said it was “staunchly opposed to Chick-fil-A setting up shop in the UK and certainly in Reading.”….