August 1st saw the social media channels alight with millions of tweets, status updates, Twitpics and Instagram collages of Chick-Fil-A stores bursting at the seams with people streaming out of the buildings or waiting in traffic-stopping lines on side streets. The numbers are still coming in, but it seems likely that today, August 1st – declared Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day by Mike Huckabee – will be a record-breaking day for the Georgia-based company. After coming under fire for asserting the privately-owned family chain’s values on supporting the Biblical definition of marriage, millions rallied to support the chain in a show of solidarity for free speech protection.
Since Chick-Fil-A didn’t seek this kind of public support, I believe they are poised to make even bigger news on August 2nd: give it all away.
The private business doesn’t “owe” the millions of supporters who patronized their establishment anything; after all, they were simply the recipient of a show of support. But the company stands to gain even more than the financial windfall of Wednesday’s massive business boost – they can make a bigger statement with the days’ extraordinary revenue. Chick-Fil-A has every right to say a hearty “thank you” to the millions of supporters and add the earned profits of a tremendous day. I wouldn’t suggest it’s not theirs to keep since it was earned through a free market system.
However, to help take even more wind out of critics sails, Chick-Fil-A could make an even louder statement than the August 1st crowds. I have a few suggestions:
2) A week from August 1st, give every person who showed support for them on August 1st a free Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich. Totally honor-system; if you say you showed up and supported, you get a sandwich, no questions asked (and an “it’s my pleasure” to boot).
3) An “Eat Mor Chickin for Fredum” campaign where all proceeds and a matching contribution by the company go to a charity.
The PR, of course, would be fantastic but the gracious and extravagant actions would reinforce their positive image and take away some of the negative press they’ve been receiving.
Then again, they can simply open the doors tomorrow and do nothing – and that would be just as good for the majority of Americans.