Highlands & Islands

LGBT criticism of fast-food chain's first Scottish outlet

Chick-fil-A bag and MacDonald Aviemore resort sign
Image caption Chicl-fil-A has opened its first Scottish outlet in Aviemore

A US fast-food chain criticised for making donations to anti-LGBT rights groups has opened a restaurant in Aviemore - its first Scottish outlet.

Chick-fil-A's first UK outlet, which is in Reading, is set to close following boycott calls earlier this month.

Highland LGBT Forum has criticised the opening of the restaurant at the MacDonald Aviemore Resort.

Chick-fil-A said it was focused on food and hospitality and did not have a social or political agenda.

Macdonald Aviemore Resort said it treated everyone with respect in its recruitment and customer care, and said the new restaurant was proving to be "extremely popular".

Chick-fil-A, a family-owned company, is one of the biggest fast-food chains in the USA and has about 2,400 outlets across North America.

According to US news website Think Progress, the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated millions of dollars in 2017 to organisations that LGBT campaigners say have a reputation of being hostile to LGBT rights.

In 2012, the company's chairman sparked a US boycott when he said he opposed gay marriage.

Highland LGBT Forum has raised concerns about the opening of the first Scottish outlet.

Sand Owsnett, of the forum, said: "Obviously there are people that work there and we want to take the workforce into account.

"We are not advocating for people to protest in order for people to lose their jobs. What we are doing is raising awareness of the fact there is a restaurant chain in the area that has very fundamental beliefs against us."

'We welcome everyone'

Chick-fil-A opened its first UK branch on 10 October in Reading's The Oracle shopping centre.

The centre has said the chain's six-month lease would not be extended.

A spokesperson for The Oracle told BBC News earlier this month: "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."

Chick-fil-A said media reports around the opening of its outlet in Reading referenced dated information and were misleading.

A spokeswoman added: "We hope our guests will see that Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on serving great food and hospitality, and does not have a social or political agenda.

"We are represented by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs, and we welcome everyone."

A spokeswoman for the Macdonald Aviemore Resort said: "Chick-fil-A is an enormously successful business, with over 2,300 restaurants in the US, and we are pleased to have them invest in the Aviemore economy, where the restaurant is proving extremely popular.

"It's vital to underline that, in both our recruitment and our customer care, we treat everyone with respect, regardless of race, religion, sexuality or gender."

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