It appears a local McDonalds has thrown down the gauntlet to its new fast-food neighbor.
A Chick-fil-A is moving in next to the Glastonbury McDonald's. While the chicken chain does not open until July 26, to the casual observer it appears McDonald's may already be taking a dig at their values. The sign under the golden arches reads “We Welcome Everyone.”
Chick-fil-A has taken criticism in the past for the fast-food chain owner’s opposition to same-sex unions and past support for anti-same-sex marriage initiatives. The chain was founded by S. Truett Cathy in 1946 and is now run by his family.
Under the religiously conservative founder, the chain gained prominence for its Bible Belt observance of Sunday — none of its hundreds of restaurants are open on that day, to allow employees a day of rest.
Those religious views helped win Cathy and his family loyal following from conservative customers, but also invited protests when Cathy's son denounced gay marriage.
The general manager of the Glastonbury McDonald’s told NBC Connecticut off camera that the sign was simply a welcome message.
"It just means that everyone is welcome, young old, everyone,” she said. She said the sign was not meant as a political statement.
Still, the message raised some eyebrows with those passing through.
“Diversity’s a good thing. What are they gonna do? Not serve some people? I mean, it’s kind of funny today but I think it might have something to do with their neighbors. Which, you know, not calling them out or anything...” said Raymond Modzicato of South Windsor.
"For McDonald’s to step up and say we welcome everyone. I feel that is a huge step for them. Then in the background you have Chick-fil-A who has historically not welcomed everyone," said Tina Manus, who drove all the way from her home in Stratford to show her support of the McDonald's.
Some felt that the restaurant shouldn't be making statements about anything other than food.
"I feel like it’s kind of rude to Chick-fil-A because they have Christian beliefs, but that doesn’t mean they have to not accept gay people," Zack Caporale of Glastonbury said.
Jordan Snook, the Chick-Fil-A franchise owner, said he wasn’t sure what the intention of the sign was, but said they were striving to create “an environment of hospitality.”
Snook also released the following statement when asked about the sign.
“We are excited to open in Glastonbury next week, and look forward to being great neighbors who welcome everyone. Glastonbury will be representative of all Chick-fil-A restaurants in serving great food and providing remarkable service for all customers, as well as a diverse workplace of individuals who represent many viewpoints, opinions, backgrounds and beliefs.”
NBC Connecticut has reached out to McDonald's corporate for further comment.