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Highland fast food outlet Chick-fil-A flies its coop in Aviemore

By Tom Ramage

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Chick-fil-A was in Aviemore.
Chick-fil-A was in Aviemore.

Equality rights campaigners have welcomed the closure of a controversial fast food chain outlet in Aviemore.

The Chick-fil-A branch opened at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort last October.

Soon after opening, vocal opposition grew because of the owners’ reputed hostility to LGBT rights and alleged donations to anti-LGBT rights groups.

The Aviemore outlet closed officially last Saturday and it is not known what will happen with the unit now.

Scott Cuthbertson, development manager at the Highland-based Equality Network, said: “Chick-fil-A is a company with a terrible record of supporting anti-LGBT causes.

“Many LGBT people in the Highlands and beyond expressed alarm at the opening of a restaurant with such a record and values that went against all that we have achieved in making Scotland a better place for LGBT people.

“I want to thank everyone who signed the petition to tell Chick-fil-A to cluck off and hope Macdonald Hotels staff are now redeployed to ensure no job losses.”

The local opening was criticised by Highland LGBT Forum and more than 1200 people signed a petition opposing the move.

Chick-fil-A opened the resort eatery as a pilot run as part of work to find a permanent location in the UK.

The US firm has insisted it was focused on food and hospitality and did not have a social or political agenda. It is a family-owned company and one of the biggest fast-food chains in the United States with some 2400 outlets across North America.

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

Its first British enterprise in Reading in Berkshire closed when the company did not extend a six-month lease, but a spokesperson told the Strathy that Chick-fil-A’s licensed pilot location in Reading had not actually closed: "It remainsopen.

"We mutually agreed to a six-month lease with the Oracle Mall in Reading as part of a longer-term strategy for us as we look to expand our international presence.

"We have been very pleased with what we’ve seen in the UK in terms of customer response to our food and our approach to customer service."

Aviemore was Chick-fil-A’s second outlet and this closure means the company no longer has a current UK presence.

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