Chik-fil-A is apparently food option that Denver airport passengers want most behind Chipotle. And the restaurant chain has a tentative deal to open there. But the Denver City Council may block the deal because of the chain’s views on same sex marriage.
Readers may know that I’m in favor of marriage equality. The fast food restaurant chains views on the matter notwithstanding, now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the issue it’s rather been decided. And in my limited experience with the chain I’ve never been preached to when ordering a chicken sandwich.
Indeed, it’s not even the Chik-fil-A corporation that would be operating the restaurant. It’s Concessions International and Delarosa Restaurant Concepts that will operate the restaurant on Denver’s B concourse (replacing ‘Steak Escapes’). Chik-fil-A gets a 7% royalty.
Denver didn’t block Alaska Airlines from flying there even though they passed out prayer cards on their meal trays (a practice they only stopped three and a half years ago, years after inaugurating Denver service).
Lopez compared Chick-fil-A’s past politics to divisive remarks made this year by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about immigration and other issues, saying: “I would throw up in my mouth a little bit if we did business with Trump.”
I actually think that many airports should refuse to lease to Chik-fil-A but not because of their stance on same sex marriage — instead because of their refusal to open on Sundays.
- There’s limited retail space on airport concourses. They need to use that space to provide the most effective service possible to passengers, seven days a week. Indeed, Sunday is a heavy travel day. Choosing a restaurant chain that will provide food on Sundays makes sense.
- Chik-fil-A may find they do enough business without opening on Sundays, perhaps people will go to Chik-fil-A a certain number of times during a week or month and will simply shift their patronage to the days that the restaurant is open. But people patronize airport food establishments on whatever day they’re passing through the airport.
- Major airports usually charge rent plus a percentage of proceeds and giving up Sunday proceeds means less revenue for the airport authority. They could charge Chik-fil-A a correspondingly higher rent to compensate not generate revenue one day a week, but they’re still left not providing service to passengers in the terminal one day a week.
That would be a viewpoint neutral and perfectly valid reason, in my view, for choosing to lease to restaurants other than Chik-fil-A.
However it concerns me that a government body would refuse to lease space at a government-owned facility to a business because of the political views of its owners.