(Photo: The Christian Post)
A report from a California-based research group on the third quarter earnings of Chick-fil-A has shown that the company experienced growth in its business during the fallout from this past summer's controversy.
According to Sandelman & Associates of San Clemente, the evangelical Christian-led fast-food chain experienced a 2.2 percent increase in visits from customers from July to September.
Paul Clarke, spokesman for Sandelman & Associates, provided The Christian Post with a press release regarding the data from the group's Quick Track Study.
"Despite protests and predictions that the fast-food chain would be hurt by the publicity, Chick-fil-A appears stronger now," reads the statement.
"When compared with the same period 2011, Chick-fil-A in Q3 2012 broadened its past-month user base (chain "regulars") in 28 of the 35 U.S. media markets where the fast-food restaurant chain is monitored in Sandelman & Associates' Quick-Track® study."
Sandelman & Associates, which describes itself as a "market research firm that tracks attitudes, awareness and usage for the restaurant industry," noted other trends positive towards Chick-fil-A.
In their survey of 30,000 fast-food customers, the research group also found that Chick-fil-A's market share was up 0.6 percent and its ad awareness increased by 6.5 percent.
"Perhaps all publicity really is good publicity: Chick-fil-A also was on more minds in Q3 2012 as measured by unaided brand awareness and total advertising awareness," remarked Sandelman & Associates.
Jerry Johnston of Corporate Public Relations for Chick-fil-A told The Christian Post that the chicken sandwich chain declined to comment on the story.
In July, Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy made headlines when he declared his opposition to same-sex marriage, stating that America was "inviting God's judgment" for saying "we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage."
Cathy's remarks drew outcry from supporters from same-sex marriage, with efforts by some city mayors and colleges to ban the restaurant from conducting business.
One academic institution where this was seriously considered was New York University, whose university senate considered removing Chick-fil-A from its campus.
Philip Lentz, director of Public Affairs for NYU, told The Christian Post that the effort to remove Chick-fil-A never came to fruition.
"The issue was discussed at the executive committee of the University Senate in October," said Lentz, who had told CP in an earlier interview that there had been efforts before July to remove Chick-fil-A from NYU.
"But none of the three councils that make up the Senate--representing students, faculty and the administration -- asked the full Senate consider the matter. As a result, the Chick-fil-A restaurant remains open in a food court in one of our dorms."
Cathy's remarks also drew a good deal of support as well, including newspapers like the Boston Globe who denounced their city's effort to ban Chick-fil-A and "Chick-fil-A Wednesday," an Aug. 1 event led by conservatives in which large numbers of people ate at the fast food chain's restaurants.