Chick-fil-A is gunning for the Big Apple. The fast-food chicken franchise reportedly has plans to open up "a good chunk" of stores in the largest city in the United States later this year, beginning the chain's long-awaited invasion of the Northeast. But before it starts salivating over the enormous and hungry New York City consumer base, the southern-fried Chick-fil-A must answer an important question: Can the notoriously conservative corporation win over one of the most liberal cities in America?
Chick-fil-A will open 108 restaurants this year — most of them urban and a good chunk of them in New York City, says Woody Faulk, vice president of design and innovation. "If we can't do it in New York, we have no business going anywhere else."
Sure, Chick-fil-A wants NYC, but does NYC want Chick-fil-A? Of course, fast food connoisseurs have been clamoring for one in the five boroughs for years. (A real one. The lone NYC location at the moment is buried inside a residence hall food court at New York University and carries a limited menu and hours.) But you may recall that the people running the chicken chain hold staunchly conservative values, particularly when it comes to same-sex marriage, that are not typically welcome in this arugula-eating metropolis. When the U.S. Supreme Court killed the Defense of Marriage Act in July 2013, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy tweeted that it was a "Sad day for our nation." That was a full two years after same-sex marriage became legal in New York state, where support statewide for gay marriage is at 60 percent.