When you think of Pride, what words come to mind?
Inclusivity. Acceptance. Community. Remembrance. Celebration.
Those are just a few of the notions associated with LGBTQ+ Pride month, recognized every June to commemorate the Stonewall riots and the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Over the past few years, Pride has seen increased popularity and visibility around the world. With this, many restaurants, large and small, have stepped in to offer a show of support to the LGBTQ+ community during the month of June. But when June comes to an end, restaurateurs can continue to promote inclusivity and support the community.
Restaurants Launch Marketing Campaigns for LGBTQ+ Pride
This year, a number of major restaurant brands launched new marketing campaigns in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride month.
Sweetgreen partnered with Covenant House to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ homeless youth, donating $1 from each bowl purchased on June 2 (up to $25,000) to support programming for LGBTQ+ youth. Shake Shack is offering Pride Shakes and selling limited edition Pride swag, with all proceeds from the retail collection being contributed to a $25,000 donation to The Trevor Project. Chipotle’s “Love What Makes You Real” campaign celebrates the LGBTQ+ community with limited edition pride gear benefitting The Trevor Project.
Major restaurant marketing campaigns such as these were not prominent even a few years ago. So how are we to account for the growing trend of restaurants supporting LGBTQ+ causes and organizations? One reason is that diners now want to support restaurants that take a stand on social issues and have a high sense of purpose. Here’s some research that supports this:
- According to Think With Google, in 2014, prior to marriage equality, 45% of consumers younger than 34 years old said they were more likely to do repeat business with an LGBTQ-friendly company.
- Research from Edelman shows that a brand's social and political stance is a deciding factor for 59% of Americans on whether or not they buy from a business.
- According to a 2018 survey by Community Marketing and Insights, more than 75% of LGBTQ+ Americans will spend more at a company that supports equality. In addition, one-third of U.S. consumers feel more positively about a brand that supports Pride.
Diners are seeking out restaurants that are socially-conscious and pro-LGBTQ+ more than ever before, but they have also grown wary of businesses potentially using Pride month to capitalize on the community for profit and personal gain. The best way to combat such wariness is to throw yourself into giving back to the LGBTQ+ community year-round, and making sure your restaurant is a safe, hospitable space for the community as well.
We spoke to LGBTQ+ restaurant owners and operators who shared eight ways restaurateurs can promote inclusivity beyond Pride month.
1. Make it clear that your restaurant is a safe space
When LGBTQ+ guests and employees enter your establishment, you want them to feel safe and welcomed. Tactics to creating such a space can run the gamut depending upon your business needs.
Lindsay Shaw, owner of Lindsay’s Boulder Deli in Boulder, Colorado, believes that letting people know your restaurant is a safe space can be as simple as hanging Pride flags outside or in the window.