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In 2019, the UK has seen public protests about various issues, from fracking to climate change.

Restaurants Should Consider Insurance After Chick-fil-A Protests

Nov 2019

In 2019, the UK has seen public protests about various issues, from fracking to climate change.  Just under half of UK workers have noticed more political discussions in the workplace[1], indicating society is becoming more polarised and politicised.  Now, a restaurant chain has suffered a public backlash that creates insurance considerations for many brands.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A crossed the Atlantic to open its first UK restaurant outlet, in Reading.  Yet, despite having taken a lease, the popular American brand was told, after just 8 days, that the lease would not be extended beyond six months, due to the protests and boycotts that its arrival generated and the impacts on the mall in which it is located [2].

A poll at ‘Berkshire Live’, found 27% of people said they would not eat at Chick-fil-A, because of the owners’ beliefs[3], once protesters revealed that the family-run firm is against same sex marriage and funds groups opposing LGBT rights. 

The 2500-outlet strong global restaurant chain, despite arguing that it has no political or social agenda, could do nothing to persuade the landlords that they should stay.  The protesters won their battle.

This example demonstrates the power of public opinion and how protests can affect a business’s ambitions.  Any eatery finding itself on the wrong side of an issue, whether it be one concerning beliefs, employee rights, or political orientation, may become embroiled in a situation in which employees and customers cannot physically reach the premises. 

During public protests, physical property damage could occur at a site, or across all sites held by a chain. Acts of terrorism can also not be ruled out. Protesters taking action against one entity can block routes used by customers wanting to reach other businesses, as was the case with a blockade set up at Pembroke Dock a few months ago[4].

As businesses are not always aware of the likely impacts of their actions, or whether or not a nearby business is likely to be targeted in some way, business interruption insurance and terrorism insurance too, if situated in a high-profile location that could carry a terrorism threat, may be beneficial.

A new terrorism policy with numerous benefits for companies, firms and traders needing terrorism and business interruption insurance, has just become available to brokers who are part of the Willis Towers Watson Network. It can provide compensation, where no physical damage has occurred, but where trade has been affected by a cordon around an incident.  It can even provide cover where the public are nervous about engaging in a particular type of activity, following an incident elsewhere. 

If you wish to find a broker who can discuss this policy with you, as well as other business interruption and terrorism policies, please use our ‘Find a Local Broker tool’