Despite official opposition to a Chik-fil-A location in San Mateo County, the Atlanta-based fast food chain is now preparing what appears to be its full menu of dishes for delivery out of a DoorDash kitchen in Redwood City.
Reuters reported on Friday that Chik-fil-A, a chain known just as well for its close relationships with groups opposed to the rights of LGBTQ people as it is for its chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, is operating one of its three “delivery kitchens” “near San Francisco.”
The kitchen, a 6,000-square-foot spot located in Redwood City, is operated by SF-based delivery company DoorDash and just got going last month, the SF Business Times reported at the time. At launch, its vendors reportedly included Halal Guys, Rooster & Rice, Humphrey Slocombe, and Nation’s, all of which prepare food to be ferried to patrons in spots like Atherton, Burlingame, Los Altos, and San Mateo.
At some point, Chik-fil-A moved into that kitchen, Palo Alto Online reports. This, despite a high-profile rejection from San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, who last summer mounted a headline-making campaign against Chik-fil-A after it announced intentions to open at 536 Whipple Avenue in Redwood City. “Chick-fil-A’s values don’t represent our values,” Canepa told the San Mateo Daily Journal last June. “The logo might as well say ‘we hate gay people.” (As of publication time, a DoorDash spokesperson has not responded to Eater SF’s requests for comment.)
Over the summer, Canepa penned a letter to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy asking him to withdraw from Redwood City, saying “your company’s anti-LGBTQ policies do not represent the values of the overwhelming majority of San Mateo County residents.” Cathy, whose father Truett founded Chik-fil-A in 1967, told the Biblical Recorder in 2012 that the company is supportive of “the biblical definition of the family unit” and that “we intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone.”
Remarks like that, as well as donations to organizations like the Family Research Council (which the Southern Poverty Law Center designated as a hate group in 2010) and a $994,199 grant to marriage equality opposition group the Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, have prompted opposition to proposed Bay Area locations of the popular chain, as well as protests at its spot inside Mineta San Jose International Airport. The controversy around the airport location was so strong, in fact, that the San Jose City Council agreed to place flags celebrating rainbow and trans rights “next to the restaurant,” council member Ken Yeager told NBC.
On Monday, Chick-fil-A announced that it would refocus its donation strategy toward organizations focused on hunger, homelessness, and education, including “$25,000 to a local food bank in every city where it opens new locations,” Eater National reports. As of publication time, a Chick-fil-A spokesperson has not responded to questions from Eater SF regarding which Redwood City charity received the promised $25K.
It’s unclear if this reversal of course will be enough for Canepa, who in his letter to Cathy wrote that “until your company denounces its hateful policies toward the LGBTQ community I will do everything in my power as county supervisor to ensure Chick-fil-A does not open a franchise in San Mateo County.” (As of publication time, Canepa had not responded to a request for comment.) According to Palo Alto Online, Chick-fil-A still intends to open its controversial Whipple Avenue location in 2020, with a spokesperson saying via email only, “We are committed to earning the respect and business of all our customers, and one day hope to serve guests in Redwood City.”