Wendy’s Distances Itself from Chick-fil-A: ‘We Proudly Serve ALL Customers’


Following our post this morning about North Carolina Wendy's franchisee Jim Furmen's signs aligning his business with Chick-fil-A, we received tweets from Wendy's that it was looking into the matter.

Wendy's now tells us: "An independent franchisee posted the sign, which he’s taken down. We proudly serve ALL customers!"

Furmen reportedly owns 86 restaurants across North Carolina. It's unclear whether he had posted the Chick-fil-A sign at each and every one.

UPDATE: A Towleroad reader received this email from Amanda Domyan in Wendy's consumer Relations department:

"This is one independent franchisee’s personal opinion. We are proud to serve customers of varied races, backgrounds, cultures and sexual orientation, with different beliefs and values. Bearing that in mind, this franchisee has decided to remove the messages from his restaurant signs."

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  1. say what says

    “…which he’s taken down…”

    how it probably happened

    Corporate Lawyer called the guy and reminded him about the franchise contract and gave him the option of removing Wendy’s Sign from off all his outlets and off all cups, awrappers…etc….or remove the chick-fil-a stuff

  2. David in Houston says

    It’s nice to see Wendy’s corporate reacting so quickly. Suffice to say, if I lived in North Carolina, I’d make sure never to set foot in any of that bigot’s locations.

  3. ichabod says

    That’s truly commendable, (Thank you, Wendy’s) but the real argument against Chick-fil-A isn’t about who they serve in their restaurants, it’s about the money the corporation funnels into anti-gay organizations such as the FRC.

    It’s an important piece of the story that the media seems to be missing…

  4. james says

    Can I just make the point that Wendy’s DID NOT say they support same-sex marriage?

    The franchisee did not say he would not serve LGBT customers. For that matter, although they’ve left the impression LGBT customers are unwelcome, CFA has not said it will not serve LGBT customers.

    The franchisee’s transgression, from a Wendy’s corporate perspective, was putting the name of a competitor on a Wendy’s sign. I wonder how they would have responded if this franchisee had posted “We support traditional marriage” without mentioning CFA.

  5. Pete N SFO says

    I’m with James… Their decision is likely much more related to corporate compliance than embracing the equality of gay people.

    Remember, Wendy’s founder, Dave, was a vocal opponent of gay adoptions, having been adopted himself.

  6. sara says

    @James I doubt that a worldwide company like Wendys is going to get in the business of being divisive & I’d bet they’d have had it removed with or without the competitors name.

    It’s not smart business to divide your customers like Chick Fil A has done. No matter how many people show up today or tomorrow their brand is now tarnished. They have colleges protesting & wanting them removed and if nothing else Wendys is not about to pick a fight with college students.

  7. Sam says

    I had figured it was an independent franchisee. Ever since Dave Thomas died and Wendy’s added employment protections for LGBT employees, Wendy’s has been my guilty pleasure so I’m not about to boycott them.

  8. james says

    @Sara. Perhaps. But had the franchisee not used a competitor’s name, had the sign said “We support traditional marriage,” Wendy’s could have just as easily said “He’s a franchisee and our franchise agreement does not prohibit him from expressing his views on a social issue.”

    Unless, of course, it does, or says the sign can be used only to promote Wendy’s products.

    I suspect they would have insisted it be taken down if he had put “Unlike Chick-Fil-A, we support marriage for all.”

  9. james says

    Adding to my last post . . . if he had put “Unlike Chick-Fil-A, we support marriage for all,” and Wendy’s had insisted the message be taken down, would we be all pissed at Wendy’s for making him take it down? Would we be saying what a horrible anti-gay company Wendy’s is? How they were stepping all over his First Amendment rights?

    I bet we would.

  10. Gregoire says

    Wendys has about 7x as many locations as Chick-Fil-A. They’re hardly about to get into a debate which would cause them to lose customers, but if they did, it would certainly impact them less than Bigot-Fil-A.

  11. Scott says

    Can I just make the point that Wendy’s DID NOT say they support same-sex marriage?

    SO WHAT, as long as they are not discriminating against it, why does it matter if they support it?

  12. Tarc says

    Let’s be stright up: I don’t care if the owners of Wendy’s supports gay marriage or not… as long as they keep their views and cash out of it.

  13. Bob says

    I think Wendy’s is too smart to allow anything on their signage that would divide their customer base. Even if they did not support gay marriage, I don’t think they would publicy announce it. That is just not sound business logic. Then again, I thought the people that ran Chick-Fil-A would have had more common sense than to do something like that too. You don’t do stuff to purposely piss off a segment of your paying clientele. What were they thinking???

  14. james says

    @Scott and Tarc. So, then, your view is that businesses should stay neutral on the question of marriage equality? Interesting.

    That’s the same thing the National Organization for Marriage said to Starbucks and General Mills when they took public positions supporting marriage equality, that businesses should stay neutral.

    Maybe they should. When they don’t, I want their views and cash helping the side I support — favoring marriage equality — don’t you?

  15. bill says

    I just sent this message to Caribou Coffee, a popular Midwestern coffee chain. Consider sending a similar message.

    Dear Caribou Coffee,
    I am a daily coffee drinker. I have spent a lot of money at Caribou. I am also a strong supporter of LGBT people, and the recent controversy with Chick-Fil-A has gotten me to look more closely into what companies I give my business to. I have been using the Human Right Campaign Buyers Guide, and I was shocked to see how poorly Caribou ranks (and how highly Starbucks ranks). It’s such a disappointment to find out the company that you really liked does not support its LGBT employees. I’m afraid I’m switching to Starbucks until Caribou starts to improve its record.

  16. enough already says

    Home Depot supports queer rights, yet the local manager of one of our stores is a christer of the worst sort.
    Wendy’s has non-discrimination against LGBT employees written into their corporate policy, yet one independent asswipe christer supports hatred.
    Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Oh, and as a vegetarian of many decades, I don’t eat at any of these junk food ‘restaurants’.

  17. vanndean says

    Chicken Sandwich
    440 calories
    16 grams fat
    1400mg sodium
    42g carbohydrates
    60mg cholesterol
    Deluxe Chicken Sandwich
    500 calories
    21g fat
    1650mg Sodium
    45g carbohydrates
    70mg carbohydrates
    Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe
    570 calories
    27g fat
    1790mg Sodium
    50g carbohydrates
    75mg cholesterol
    Chick Fil A, not recommended by 9 out of 10 cardiologists.

  18. andrew says

    This marriage equality issue is going to be one of the things that causes Obama’s defeat in november. Obama carried N C and Va in 2008. Unfortunately that is not going to happen in 2012. If a political party gets too far ahead of the general population on these emotional wedge issues, it loses.

  19. ElizabethMC says

    Chick-fil-A proudly serves all customers, and doesn’t discriminate in its hiring.
    Just because someone believes in traditional marriage doesn’t make them a hateful bigot.
    Obama believed in traditional marriage until just a few moths ago…that is until he realized he needed votes from the gay community.
    Divided we fall.

  20. Janet Ann says

    Where is the outrage? Why the double standard? In the name of Chicago values … why is Islam being embraced?
    Minister Louis Farrahkan reopens his Chicago restaurant
    July 12, 2012
    Reminder: Louis Farrakhan Blasted Obama for Endorsing Same-Sex Marriage
    Jul 26, 2012 (Video)

  21. Janet Ann says

    Then there is Boston’s mayor double standard when it come to discriminating against Christians and giving radical Islam a pass.
    Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino’s letter to the president of Chick-fil-A
    on gay marriage
    July 25, 2012 06:25 PM
    Radical imam OK but not Chick-fil-A
    Friday, July 27, 2012

  22. Janet Ann says

    Maybe … just maybe … the unsuccessful attempts by the mayors of Chicago and Boston to prevent Chick-Fil-A from opening franchises in their respective cities was a long time coming Christian awakening.
    Could it be the Chick-Fil-A incident is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Think about it. Voices that have been both traditionally and conservatively silent are finally being raised in unison. Those raised voices are practically challenging and exposing what appears to be an official Islamic/Christian double standard regarding the definition of tolerance. In other words … Christians are not about to quietly sit back and accept the discriminatory status quo any longer.

  23. Simon Templar says


    lol at all you butthurt whining faggots trying to demonstrate at Chick-fil-a’s, because you are just giving them free advertising and they are having record sales now. Enjoy your rectal bleeding and AIDS.

    AIDS kills fags dead.

  24. millerbeach says

    @ Sarah…you hit the nail on he head with this line…

    “No matter how many people show up today or tomorrow their brand is now tarnished.”

    Yes, it is certainly tainted now. Not only will I never eat there, neither will my friends or family. A lot of people won’t go there simply because they avoid controversy, real or perceived. Hate gives normal people terrible indigestion. Not to mention what greasy gut-bombs do…

  25. millerbeach says

    @Simon…if you use proper lube, there should be no bleeding. If you use a condom, there is no AIDS. Thanks for playing, try again. You sure know a lot about gay sex for not being gay! LOL

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