World's largest Wendy's franchise owner stands with Chick-fil-a after controversy

Published: Aug. 1, 2012 at 4:01 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2012 at 4:01 PM EDT
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BOONE, NC (WBTV/WIS) - The owner of the largest Wendy's restaurants franchise in the world showed his support for competitor Chick-fil-a with a message on some signs in the Carolinas.

WBTV has learned of at least one Wendy's sign in Columbia, South Carolina that read "We stand with Chick-fil-A" on Wednesday morning.

A couple of hours later, that sign was taken down.

Jim Furman, CEO of Tarheel Capital based out of Boone, NC, who owns the restaurant and 74 other Wendy's said the company decided to post the message.

Furman tells WBTV's sister station in Columbia that he doesn't know how many of the company's restaurants posted the message, but he says it was more than just the one.

Furman said the message supporting Chick-fil-A was taken down because the company "felt it was time to go back to their marketing message."

WEB EXTRA: Furman's Wendy's stores in North Carolina | South Carolina

The national Wendy's corporation went onto social media on Wednesday, saying Furman's message was his own.

"An independent franchisee posted the sign, which he's taken down," Wendy's officials tweeted to WBTV on Wednesday. "We proudly serve ALL customers!"

Wendy's officials later sent WBTV a full statement via email.

"This is one independent franchisee's personal opinion. We are proud to serve customers of varied races, backgrounds, cultures and sexual orientation, with different beliefs and values," the statement read. "Bearing that in mind, this franchisee has decided to remove the messages from his restaurant signs."

Supporters of Chick-fil-A are encouraging customers to eat at the company's restaurants Wednesday, declaring a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."

The restaurant chain became the subject of controversy after company president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press last month that his company supported the "biblical definition of a family."

In response to comments, gay rights organizations have called for boycotts of the restaurant.