(NEW YORK) -- Which fast-food joint is the fastest of them all?
Wendy's takes the crown with an average 129.75 seconds, according to Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Magazine's annual Drive-Thru Performance Study of six national fast-food chains and one rotating brand. This year, that brand was Del Taco. Burger King came in seventh, barely hanging onto its crown with 201.33 seconds.
A call to Burger King for comment wasn't immediately returned.
By averaging the times during 318 visits to Wendy's, QSR Magazine found that Wendy's was 20 seconds faster than second-place Taco Bell.
However, speed may not be everything. One commenter on the QSR Magazine website stated, "I will take freshness and quality over speed every time!"
The magazine and Insula Research conducted the survey by visiting each restaurant between 203 to 362 times.
The fast-food industry doesn't exactly have an equivalent to the computer chip industry's Moore's law, which predicted in the 1970s that processing power would double every two years. Complex menus have contributed to a plateau in drive-thru speed for the last seven or eight years, the magazine states.
A statement from Burger King noted that it "prides itself on providing excellent products and great service to all of our guests."
"As part of our HAVE IT YOUR WAY promise, we offer great-tasting products that are fresh and made-to-order for each guest; from flame-grilled hamburgers to smoothies and frappés," Burger King said. "The level of customization may delay the drive-thru experience."
QSR's other ratings included order accuracy, favorable exterior, condition of landscaping, speaker clarity and customer service. Here is its ranking of restaurants by average service times:
2) Taco Bell
7) Burger King
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Entries in Chick-Fil-A (17)
(NEW YORK) -- Which fast-food joint is the fastest of them all?
(NEW YORK) -- Chick fil-A has “made no … concessions” regarding its support of groups that oppose gay marriage, company CEO Dan Cathy said in a statement that was posted online by Mike Huckabee, denying a statement by a Chicago alderman that the company said it would reevaluate its policies in the face of a move by city officials to bar Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant there.
“Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been,” Cathy said in the statement. “There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect.”
Chicago Alderman Proco Joe Moreno told ABC News Wednesday that he had received a letter from Chick-fil-A’s senior director of real estate saying the company had decided to re-evaluate the multimillion-dollar donations it gives to anti-gay marriage activists and other groups with “political agendas.”
“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” the letter said.
A representative from Chick-fil-A did not return calls made by ABC News by press time to explain the letter.
While the company memo “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” released last week, does use language quoted by Moreno, the document goes on to reaffirm the company’s commitment to funding pro-marriage groups, although the document does not clarify as to which groups.
“Chick-fil-A supports programs and marriage retreats to help strengthen and enrich marriages. More than 4,000 couples benefit annually from these programs, including military personnel and sports coaches that received scholarships.”
Previously the company’s WinShape Foundation gave money to groups like the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund — donations that rekindled a firestorm among pro-gay groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Family Research Council as a “hate group,” as displayed on the group’s “hate map.”
Moreno raised the stakes last month when he threatened to block the construction of a Chick -fil-A restaurant, a move that prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to side with Moreno, declaring that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(NEW YORK) -- A Chicago lawmaker says that Chick-fil-A is re-evaluating the multimillion-dollar donations the company gives to anti-gay marriage activists and other groups with “political agendas,” a month after company CEO Dan Cathy’s pro-traditional marriage comments created a firestorm in the fast-food world between LGBT supporters and gay-marriage opponents.
After weeks of negotiations with city Alderman Joe Moreno, the fast-food restaurant agreed to take “a much closer look” at which groups receive donations from the WinShape Foundation, a non-profit created by the Cathy family and funded almost entirely by Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, the company told Moreno.
“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” Chick-fil-A’s senior director of real estate said in a letter to Moreno.
Between 2008 and 2010, the WinShape Foundation gave $3.2 million to groups that advocate against same-sex marriage, according to the group’s tax reports. That included $2,000 to the Family Research Council, which was designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010, and $2,500 to the Alliance Defense Fund, which supported California’s Proposition 8 to outlaw gay marriage.
The Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund did not return requests for comment.
News of these donations, which was sparked by Cathy’s saying he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit,” sparked national outcry from gay-marriage activists and an overwhelmingly supportive response from traditional-marriage conservatives, who turned out in droves to dine at Chick-fil-A restaurants Aug. 1.
Moreno, who represents the ritzy Northwest Side of Chicago, vowed to block construction of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant in his ward after Cathy’s remarks. But in a statement today, Moreno commended the company for making “real progress” toward addressing “the very legitimate concerns of the LGBT community regarding Chick-fil-A.”
Along with re-evaluating funding to anti-gay marriage activist groups, Moreno said Chick-fil-A has agreed to amend its corporate policy to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy.
Because of such changes to company policy, Moreno said he will recommend to the Chicago City Council that Chick-fil-A construction plans be approved for its new location in Chicago.
Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment or confirmation of Moreno’s statement.
The WinShape foundation directed all comments through the Chick-fil-A headquarters, which also serves as the foundation’s main offices, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- After traditional marriage advocates came out en masse for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last week, gay marriage activists are planning to swarm Starbucks on Tuesday to show their support for companies that offer same-sex partner benefits.
Tuesday's National Marriage Equality Day is a "direct response" to conservative commentator Mike Huckabee's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which the chicken company said led to "record-setting" sales last week.
"It felt like the right wing groups were showcasing Aug. 1 as 'This is how America feels,'" said Kirsten Ott Palladino, the editor of an online same-sex wedding magazine, Equally Wed, who, along with her wife, started the equality day effort. "We are wanting to say, 'This isn't all of America and we can come out and support our businesses too."
The controversy began after Chick-fil-A's president, Dan Cathy, was widely quoted as opposing same-sex marriage.
"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" he said.
Palladino told ABC News the day was originally planned as Starbucks Appreciation Day, to show support for a company that, unlike Chick-fil-A, supports same-sex marriage and offers benefits to same-sex couples. But Starbucks managers asked Palladino to expand the effort to include other companies that are supporters of LGBT rights, a change Palladino said she happily made.
"In the end I think that I'm happier with it becoming this because it's not just supporting businesses that support marriage equality, but also non-profits that are working tirelessly and sometimes thanklessly to support marriage equality in this country," she said. "At the end of the day it's not just about seeing how many lines we're wrapping around Starbucks."
Starbucks did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment. To see a full list of businesses the equality day is celebrating click here.
More than 28,500 people have said on Facebook they will join in Tuesday's appreciation day, about twice as many attendees as there were for the Chick-fil-A kiss-in that other LGBT advocates held last Friday. About 12,000 people signed up on Facebook for the kiss-in, which urged same-sex couples to take a photo of themselves kissing outside a Chick-fil-A.
It's still a fraction of the 650,000 people who said on Facebook that they would attend Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last Wednesday.
Palladino said Huckabee's "household name status" is what made his pro-traditional marriage event so popular. Big name conservatives like Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum also posted their support for the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Twitter and Facebook.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(NEW YORK) -- Whether he wanted to be or not, Dan Cathy, the Bible-quoting president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, has become a household name. So has his stance on same-sex marriage.
What people might not realize is the extent to which Chick-fil-A has funded organizations with radically anti-gay messages through its charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, which was created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984. According to a July report from Equality Matters, a gay rights organization, the foundation donated nearly $2 million in 2010 to groups such as the Marriage & Family Foundation, the Family Research Council and Exodus International, which has helped "men and women surrender their sexual struggles to the Lordship of Jesus Christ" since 1976.
But Chick-fil-A isn't the only company with a conservative bent. Conservative activists are responsible for some of the products you use in your home. Koch Industries, for example, which manufactures products like Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny Paper towels and Dixie cups plans to donate about $400 million to conservative groups such as the National Rifle Association, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the National Right to Life Committee, Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition, and the American Future Fund, Politico reported.
The founders of Koch Industries, brothers David and Charles Koch, have helped bankroll numerous Tea Party candidates through their advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity.
Meanwhile, Costco co-founder and chairman Jeffrey H. Brotman gave $77,550 in political contributions to Democrats and only $15,625 to Republicans. An additional $63,700 went to special interest groups, according to Newsmeat.org, which tracks donor spending.
Most people aren't aware of the extent to which their favorite companies play partisan politics, said Kate Coyne-McCoy, executive director of Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS), a bipartisan organization dedicated to curbing the role of corporate spending in elections. What's more, public companies aren't obligated to disclose their political spending.
"Soon America will be inundated with TV ads that will be nasty and vitriolic," she said. "We won't know who's paying for what. It's like campaigns are auctions, not elections, and we won't know which politicians are being bought by whom."
So what other companies or CEOS have strong political or ideological beliefs?
While Chick-fil-A has been gaining notoriety among those opposed to same-sex marriage, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the new poster boy for the pro-gay marriage set. On July 27, Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, pledged $2.5 million to Washington United for Marriage (WUM), Washington state's coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and businesses working together to defend civil marriage for same-sex couples. To that end, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer each donated $100,000 to the cause.
Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang, along with his wife, Jin Sook, is a devout Christian who performs missionary work around the globe and claims the Bible is his favorite book. Chang, who came to the United States from South Korea in 1981, also co-runs the Chang 21 Foundation, which donates to churches and faith-based organizations, according to The Los Angeles Times. And every Forever 21 shopping bag comes with a Bible verse (John 3:16) stamped on the bottom: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
On Thursday, Fred Karger, an LGBT rights activist, announced a world-wide boycott against Amway, the conservative direct-sales monolith. Karger obtained the tax records of Amway president and owner Doug DeVos and discovered that DeVos had donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Education Fund, according to the Michigan Business Review. NOM was created five years ago to pass Proposition 8 in California, a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage. Karger told rawstory.com that DeVos' "appears to be the largest family donation to NOM in its history."
Dr. Bronner's Magic "All-One" Products
The debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been raging in grocery stores across the country. Now it's headed to California, where voters will get to decide if many food products using GMOs are required to label them as such. The November ballot initiative is known as "The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," or Proposition 37. If 37 is passed, not only will there be labeling requirements, but these foods will also be forbidden from labeling or advertising themselves as "natural." Those supporting the initiative include Dr. Bronner's, which has donated $290,000 to pro-37 groups; Nature's Path Food USA, ($250,709) and Amy's Kitchen ($25,000). The company says it does not use GMOs.
Those on the other end of the spectrum -- that is, those who argue that, if passed, Prop 37 would increase food prices, encourage frivolous lawsuits and do nothing to protect the public's well-being -- include Pepsi, which has contributed $90,220 to efforts to oppose the Prop 37; Nestle ($61,471); and Coca-Cola ($61,209), according to Voters Edge, a nonpartisan guide to ballot measures.
Gold's Gym International
Gold's is a subsidiary of TRT Holdings, a private Texas corporation that also owns Omni Hotels and Tana Exploration, an oil and gas exploration firm. Its owner, CEO and president, Robert Rowling, has donated more than $1 million to American Crossroads, which was started by GOP political strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, and the super PAC that supports Mitt Romney, Restore Our Future, according to opensecrets.org.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(NEW YORK) -- After hundreds of thousands of people ate "mor chikin" last week to support the Chick-fil-A CEO's traditional-marriage stance, another prominent company has found itself in the crosshairs of a boycott sparked by its executive's marriage beliefs.
The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, financially supported by Amway president Doug DeVos, donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an anti-gay marriage group that was one of the leading advocates against same-sex marriage initiatives in eight states.
Because of that 2009 donation, gay rights activists are calling for a boycott of Ada, Mich.-based Amway, a health and beauty products company, and its affiliates including the Orlando Magic basketball team, which DeVos' father and Amway co-founder Richard DeVos owns.
"NOM constantly defends anti-LGBT companies like its ally Chick-fil-A and its owner for hateful and bigoted comments and actions," gay rights activist and long-shot presidential candidate Fred Karger wrote in a statement announcing the boycott Friday.
Karger, the president of the LGBT advocacy group Rights Equal Rights, said the goal of groups like the National Organization for Marriage "appears to be harming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans."
But Amway said the donation stemmed from DeVos' personal beliefs and the "Amway opportunity is open to everyone."
"As private citizens, the DeVos family supports causes and organizations that advocate for policies aligned to their personal beliefs," Amway said in a statement.
The company added that the DeVos family believes "one of the highest callings of any individual is to express their own personal beliefs as a participant in the democratic process."
Amway president Doug DeVos has apparently made no public statements about the issue one way or another.
A spokesman for the Orlando Magic said the team has seen no affect on ticket sales or support from the boycott.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(NEW YORK) -- On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of traditional marriage activists ate "mor chickin" to support Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. On Thursday, it is same-sex marriage allies' turn.
Gay marriage supporters are putting a romantic spin on traditional sit-ins, organizing "kiss-ins" outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants from Dallas to New York City to celebrate National Same-Sex Kiss Day.
"Basically what you're going to get is a bunch of pretty normal, average, everyday people that just happen to be gay or lesbian give each other a kiss or a hug, hold each other's hand, and really show them that we stand up for what we believe," said Marci Alt, who is organizing a protest outside the Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Ga., about 20 miles from the company's Atlanta headquarters.
While the spark for this week's protests both for and against Chick-fil-A stemmed from comments the company's CEO, Dan Cathy, made supporting traditional marriage, the issues driving people to the streets go deeper than one executive's words.
"For me why it's so important is, I don't believe anybody should have the ability to say, I'm not a good Christian, or I'm Jewish, that I'm not a good Jew because I'm gay," said Alt, who has been with her wife for 12 years and has two daughters. The couple have invited Cathy over to dinner, where they "can share a respectful dialogue about our faith, work and families here in Georgia," said Alt, who says she'll even make chicken.
Many of the Chick-fil-A supporters who turned out for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day told ABC News that they chose to eat chicken sandwiches on Wednesday to support Cathy's First Amendment rights to express his opinion on marriage.
Activists who are planning to turn out for Friday's kiss-off say it is not about speech, it's about action. Chick-fil-A and the non-profit foundation WinShape that it supports have donated millions to anti-gay groups such as the Marriage & Family Foundation, the Family Research Council and the National Institute of Marriage, all of which support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
"Yes, you're allowed to have your opinion, but when you start signing checks over to people who are against my community and trying to rip my family apart, I'm going to stand up," Alt said.
Alt said she expects "hundreds, hopefully thousands" of people to show up for the Atlanta kiss-in. Other formal protests are planned in Dallas and New York City and hundreds of other informal kiss-ins are expected around the country.
"It is just a nice nonviolent demonstration of LGBT love," said Rome Frost, who is organizing a kiss-in outside of New York City's only Chick-fil-A location, at New York University. "It's to show how much support that we do have and how we can solve these kinds of problems in a very nonviolent and romantic way."
Frost said he expects between 150 and 200 people -- both gay and straight -- to show up for the New York City kiss-in, which starts at 8 P.M. ET.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(ATLANTA) -- After hundreds of thousands of people ate dinner at his restaurants on Wednesday for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, one Georgia family, a same-sex couple and their two daughters, has invited Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy to have dinner at their house.
But the dinner invitation from Marci Alt and wife Marlysa, who live near Chick-fil-A’s Atlanta headquarters, is no paltry piece of paper, it is backed by an online petition sponsored by Change.org, an online organizing platform for activists, and GLAAD, a gay rights advocacy group.
“I hope Mr. Cathy will join my family for dinner, where we can share a respectful dialogue about our faith, work and families here in Georgia,” Alt said in a statement. “It’s important that Mr. Cathy meet the people his company is donating millions to stand against.”
“I’ll even make chicken,” Alt added.
The invite comes on the heels of national outrage from the LGBT community after Cathy said that he was “guilty as charged” for supporting the, “biblical definition of the family unit.”
In support of Kathy's comment -- and of his First Amendment right to express it -- customers nationwide flocked to the chain's restaurants.
Alt, along with gay rights advocates across the country, plan to protest those comments and the company’s anti-gay marriage stance with National Same-Sex Kiss Day on Friday. Nearly 12,000 people have said on Facebook that they will head to Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country and pucker up with their same-sex partners.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said the protest stems not from Cathy’s comments, but from the millions of dollars his company has poured into “anti-gay hate groups.”
In 2010, WinShape, the non-profit foundation created by Cathy and largely supported by Chick-fil-A, gave more than $1 million to the Marriage & Family Foundation and $37,000 to the National Institute of Marriage, both of which promote defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
“Without question, Dan Cathy has every right to voice his opinions and beliefs,” Graddick said in a statement. “But he should meet and get to know the people that he’s speaking out against -- the people who are harmed by his company’s multi-million dollar donations to anti-gay hate groups working to hurt everyday LGBT Americans and break apart loving families.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(NEW YORK) -- Chick-fil-A posted "record-setting" sales on Wednesday as thousands of people swarmed the chicken chain for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day after the chain's chief made anti-gay comments.
"While we don't release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day," Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
At least one location had to close early after nearly selling out of chicken. At others, lines snaked around buildings and patrons waited upwards of two hours to snag their chicken sandwiches and show their support for Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's comments supporting traditional marriage.
"We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country," Robinson said. "We congratulate local Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators and their team members for striving to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality."
At the Chick-fil-A in Augusta, Georgia, about 150 miles from the franchise's Atlanta headquarters, the lunch line wait was hours long. And after a day of lines that snaked around the building, the restaurant had to turn away part of the dinner crowd, closing two hours early due to low supplies.
Mike Huckabee, who created the Appreciation Day movement on Facebook, said yesterday that he was "giddy" about the outcome.
"People are voting with their feet today," Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said. "I guess you could also say they are voting with their faces, they are stuffing them with chicken sandwiches, those lovely chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A."
The company’s CEO has not spoken publically or agreed to any more interviews following the backlash over comments he made to the Baptist Press supporting "the biblical definition of the family unit."
"We are very much supportive of the family," Cathy said. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."
After an outpouring of support for Cathy and his company during Wednesday's Appreciation Day, gay activists are taking to the streets, or rather the Chick-fil-A parking lots, around the country for National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A on Friday to protest the chicken chain's opposition to the LGBTQ community.
Same-sex couples are being urged to take photos and videos of themselves kissing outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide.
About 11,000 have said on Facebook that they will attend the event. The Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day event had about 55 times that many Facebook attendees.
Although the restaurant chain has become a rallying cry for people on both sides of the marriage debate, Chick-fil-A has aimed to stay out of the politics and controversy stemming from its CEO's comments.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect –regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," Robinson said in a statement. "We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
(CRYSTAL CITY, Va.) -- People across the country are flocking to Chick-fil-A Wednesday, not because of the fast-food chain's chicken sandwiches, but because of its CEO's vocal support of traditional marriage.
More than 630,000 supporters signed up to celebrate Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day Wednesday, which former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee created to counter a boycott launched by gay marriage activists last week after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said he was "guilty as charged" for not supporting gay marriage.
"The goal is simple," Huckabee wrote on the Facebook page for the event. "Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1."
At the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Crystal City, Va. -- the closest non-University franchise to Washington, D.C. -- a steady line snaked down the block for nearly three hours as supporters lined up for the anti-boycott. The line was long but peaceful. There were no protestors, no signs, no shouting and no crowd control necessary.
Courtney Clem, 22, strolled over to the Chick-fil-A in Crystal City, Va., to pick up lunch for her entire office and show her support. Clem said she wanted to eat at Chick-fil-A Wednesday not only because she supports traditional marriage but because she supports the First Amendment.
"We want to support their right to an opinion," Clem said. "I do support that opinion. And the right. Even if it was an opinion I disagreed with, I'd be here today."
Clem said the Appreciation Day has been a success because Chick-fil-A supporters are responding to the opposition "causing such a stink about it, getting so upset about him voicing his opinion."
"I think it's more about people frankly being offended that people are offended," she said before hauling a tote-sized bag of chicken sandwiches out the door.
But not all passersby were supportive of Chick-fil-A. Beth Matt, 27, who walked past Chick-fil-A's long line on her way to work, said the conservative-backed appreciation day was, "not something I want to be a part of."
"Don't get me wrong, I like the food," Matt said. "But this is just outrageous."
Matt said she did not support Cathy's traditional marriage comments but was not surprised they made such a stir.
"I guess were getting toward an election season and things are just going to get more and more polarized so sure let Chick-fil-A be another martyr," Matt said. "Chick-fil-A is just another silly thing that people can get polarized about and make arguments about."
"It makes me kind of sad," Matt added. "I really like their chicken!"
But the recent outcry nor the company's support for traditional marriage are going to keep Matt away from "really good chicken" forever.
"Maybe after this dies down, maybe after November I'll come back to Chick-fil-A," she said.
The chicken chain CEO's comments that he supports "the biblical definition of the family unit" did not come as a surprise to many of the patrons celebrating Chick-fil-A appreciation day. Cathy's restaurant is closed on Sundays and supports a nonprofit ministry foundation.
"Everyone knows its a Christian organization," Ellen Guarente told ABC News while holding a bag of waffle fries outside the Crystal City Chick-fil-A. "What he was saying wasn't inflammatory ... but suddenly it was taken out of context and twisted and suddenly it became something that was very ugly and very derogatory and it was so unnecessary. Free speech cuts both ways."
Nevertheless, Cathy's traditional marriage remarks have become a rallying cry for activists on both sides of the marriage debate over the past week.
Gay rights groups launched a national boycott of the chicken chain last week, which the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., have publicly supported.
The Philadelphia City Council is considering a resolution to condemn the company for what councilman Jim Kenney called their "Anti-American attitude."
D.C. councilman Marion Barry tweeted that he does not support "hate chicken," Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino said there is "no place for your company" in his city and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the restaurant's "values are not Chicago values."
"When I first heard that I was so shocked that he had the audacity to speak for the entire city," Nancy Flynn said after picking up some chicken for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day in Crystal City. "How could you even say that? That means that what other people's beliefs are don't matter.
"When you're in a position like that," Flynn added, "you have a responsibility to everyone, not just the people who voted you into office or that believe what you believe."
The Chicago Republican Party made a formal complaint against Emanuel on Wednesday, alleging that the mayor has "broken civil rights laws pertaining to religious freedom and the First Amendment in denying Chick-fil-A a permit to operate its business in the City of Chicago."
Emanuel's press secretary clarified that the mayor does not intend to block Chick-fil-A from opening its first free-standing location in Chicago.
"If they meet all the usual requirements, then they can open their restaurant, but he does not believe the CEO's values are reflective of our city," mayoral spokesman Tarrah Cooper said on Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
National conservative figures have responded to the controversy with an outpouring of support for the restaurant.
Sarah Palin posted a photo of her and her husband holding bulging bags of Chick-fil-A on her Facebook page and said in a Fox News interview Tuesday that the boycott, "has a chilling effect on our 1st Amendment rights."
She continued, suggesting that President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden had expressed similar sentiments about gay marriage until they made a push to appeal to gay voters.
"I'm speaking up for him and his 1st Amendment rights and anybody else who would wish to express their not anti-gay people sentiment, but their support of traditional marriage, which President Obama and Joe Biden, they both supported the exact same thing until just a few months ago, when Obama had to flip-flop to shore up the homosexual voter base," Palin said.
Obama and Biden had actually said it was an issue that should be left to the states.
Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum voiced his support by tweeting he was "fueling up" at Chick-fil-A as well. He shared Chick-fil-A salads with Citizens United President David Bossie Wednesday, tweeting that he was having a "Chick-fil-A lunch" and predicting that it would make "leftists go crazy."
But while much ado is being made over Chick-fil-A's top executive's gay marriage stance, it seems one of the company's franchise owners is taking a different tack. Anthony Piccola, who manages New Hampshire's only Chick-fil-A location in Nashua, has signed on to be a sponsor of the New Hampshire Pride Fest Aug. 11.
"As an independent franchise Operator I am dedicated to supporting our local community in the best ways possible and we give to a wide variety of causes in Nashua," Piccola told ABC News in a statement. "The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio