Despite a PR firestorm from president Dan Cathy's comments against gay marriage, Chick-fil-A experienced record sales in 2012.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the chain ended 2012 with $4.6 billion in sales, compared to its previous record of $4.1 billion last year.
During 2012, Chick-fil-A opened 96 stores, versus 92 the prior year.
Despite a social media backlash and promises of boycotts, Cathy's controversial statements also generated plenty of support, leading to a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" during the summer that yielded a single-day sales record.
Meanwhile, as Chick-fil-A's sales grow, the chain's perception among consumers has dropped. It is no longer listed in the top five best-perceived limited-service brands as researched by YouGov BrandIndex.
Donations still being questioned
Also, conflicting reports have emerged about whether or not Chick-fil-A has ended its financial commitments to organizations that are considered anti-gay. These donations were the impetus behind Cathy's statements and the subsequent divisiveness.
A recent story on HuffingtonPost.com claimed that Chick-fil-A's philanthropic arm, WinShape Foundation, has ceased its donations to the organizations in question.
A national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered campus organization, Campus Pride, issued a statement claiming that its executive director, Shane Windmeyer, was given access to WinShape's tax documents proving the change.
However, media watchdog group Media Matters for America, released a statement shortly thereafter claiming that "in reality, the majority of the company's anti-gay donations remain unchanged."
The group continued: "If Windmeyer's claim that Chick-fil-A has stopped funding the most extreme anti-gay groups is true, the company would only have reduced its anti-gay donations by less than one percent.
"Windmeyer clarified in an interview with The Advocate that when he saw IRS tax forms, provided to him by Chick-fil-A officials, that several of the groups identified by (LGBT organization) Equality Matters are still indeed receiving donations."
Read more about operations management.
Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with FastCasual.com, QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.