A southern fast food staple as famous for its CEO’s political beliefs as it is for its fried chicken sandwiches is set to open dozens of restaurants in New York City, according to published reports.
Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A plans to open 108 franchises in urban areas by the end of the year, most of which will be in New York City, USA Today reports. The proposed foray comes as the chicken chain, the nation’s largest, works to expand its appeal two years after conservative CEO Dan Cathy condemned gay marriage, sparking boycotts and social media outrage.
Chick-Fil-A also plans to expand into Los Angeles and Chicago this year to compete with other popular urban fast food chains like McDonald’s and Panera Bread, according to the paper. The chain also announced a new line of grilled chicken sandwiches aimed at millenials and told USA Today it will tone down its conservative agenda.
“I’m going to leave it to politicians and others to discuss social issues,” Cathy told USA Today.
The new restaurants won’t be the chain's first in New York City. There is one franchise inside an NYU residence hall, but this is Chick-Fil-A's first concerted effort to move into the Big Apple.
“If we can’t do it in New York, we have no business going anywhere else,” Chick-Fil-A vice president Woody Faulk told USA Today.