Chick-fil-A has quietly opened a second UK restaurant within the Macdonald Aviemore hotel as part of its “ongoing exploration”.
The company first opened in the Oracle in Reading earlier this month, prompting protests from LGBT+ groups that saw the shopping centre block an extension of the American fast-food brand's lease beyond the initial six months.
The chicken chain had previously been subject to a boycott in the US following comments made by chief executive Dan Cathy in 2012. Asked about same-sex marriage, Cathy had told a radio programme: “We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.”
A spokesperson for the shopping centre said: “At the Oracle, we offer an inclusive space where everyone is welcome. 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.”
Commenting on the Highlands opening, 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 hotel location gives us an opportunity to build our knowledge, to continue to learn and gain a stronger understanding of local consumer tastes and preferences as part of our ongoing exploration."
A spokesperson for 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.”
Chick-fil-A is one of the largest fast-food chain in the US, with more than 2,400 outlets across 47 states, and has held several pop-ups in the UK ahead of its move into the market. It reported revenue in excess of $10b (£7.8b) in 2018.