The fire marshal and had to respond to the by lunchtime Wednesday as crowds patronizing the restaurant for "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" overwhelmed the restaurant.
"I expected it to be big, just not this big," said Loganville Chick-fil-A owner Edgar Brush. "Did I expect I would have to be standing here with the fire marshal letting people in - No Maam."
Aug. 1 was designated "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" by former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He did it in response to the outcry against the company because of comments made by Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy. A Facebook page created by Huckabee calling for the support said the former governor was incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick fil-A company because Cathy had affirmed his support for the biblical version of marriage.
Huckabee asked that no one carry signs, make speeches or openly demonstrate, but rather simply show up and eat - and show up in Loganville they did. Much the same happened at the Chick-fil-A in Monroe, with police having to control the traffic there too.
Capt. Rick Morris with the Loganville Fire Department said they were called in to help control the crowds. Fire officials were stationed at each side of the restaurant, only letting more people in one door as customers left via the other. Police also had to control traffic backed up on Highway 78 as cars waited to go through the drive-through. But people didn't seem to mind. Chick-fil-A staff offered water to the people prepared to wait in the hot sun.
Brush said he's been with Chick-fil-A for more than 30 years - in fact had a restaurant in downtown Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics - but he's never seen anything like the crowds that turned up Wednesday.
"I thought I might even double what we usually do, but nothing like this," Brush said, adding, however, that he appreciates all business. "We serve everybody here. I'm not a politician - I'm in the food business. We appreciate everybody's business and anybody who wants to talk to me about this is welcome to call."
In response to Huckabee's call for support for Chick-fil-A, another group, Fund for the Public Interest, has called for a National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A on Friday. At this time, though, it is not expected to cause another fire hazard. As of Tuesday, only 8,550 people had responded "yes" and 2,638 gave a "maybe." Although it did have more of a headstart, "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" had more than 500,000 "yes" responses by that time.