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Chains that support the Republican or Democratic parties, and various agendas?

daydream Apr 13, 2011 07:30 PM

I worry about even asking this question, for fear of sparking a huge, nasty debate. However, CHers are generally articulate, level-headed, and sensible, so I hope if I pose my question as neutrally and clearly as possible, there will be no problems whatsoever...

Right? :)

Anyway, all I want to know is which chains support what/who. Whose CEO's give to which political candidates, propositions, campaigns, etc? Which restaurants have religious affiliations?


I know Chik-Fil-A president Truett Cathy came under fire this year for 'anti-gay politics', and has since countered back claiming they're 'not anti-anybody': http://www.ajc.com/business/chick-fil...

I also know that In-N-Out wrappers and cups have Bible verses written on them, including 'John 3:16', which would suggest the owners are Christians.

There is also talk that the owners of Chipotle are liberal, though I personally have found nothing to support or negate such claims.

All I want are the facts, not opinions or arguments! Thank you. <3

  1. n
    ninrn Apr 28, 2011 11:05 PM

    The Chowhound Team seems to have removed a list I posted of food-related businesses and the percentages of their political contributions going to right-wing candidates and causes, along with all the responses to that list. I'm a bit surprised since my post exactly conformed to the guidelines they set -- "-- sharing specific information about businesses and the political causes they have supported --". But another poster had mentioned that the link I included to the original source no longer worked, which may be the reason for the deletion.

    In any case, if anyone is interested, that list is still there, part of the same conservative blogger's site where I found it. It appears, though, that every time this blogger adds a new post, the old ones get re-archived and their URL's change slightly, hence the dead link.

    If you want to look at it, it's available by going to <http://rightwingtroll.blogspot.com/> and typing "support conservative companies" in the search box. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page that comes up).

    I checked up on several of the companies whose political donations as cited in the list were a bit surprising to me, and what was posted was correct, so it seems to me like the list is legit. But, of course, since all political contributions are a matter of public record, if you're skeptical of anything on the list, it's easy enough to cross-check, and I hope you will post any corrections here.


    1. The Chowhound Team Apr 21, 2011 08:50 AM

      Folks, this thread is prickly by nature, and we're trying to keep it on a very narrow path -- sharing specific information about businesses and the political causes they have supported -- rather than allowing it to meander into whether people like a particular cause, believe that causes have any place in your food decisions (there are other threads discussing that question), or like a restaurant aside from causes. We've removed a number of posts from the thread that would usually be okay, but in this specific thread, we're trying very hard to keep the conversation focused and without drifting down those tangents.

      1. r
        rasputina Apr 20, 2011 11:32 AM

        I never noticed anything on In N Out packaging. Maybe I've just been to busy shoving the food in my mouth LOL

        1. l
          lyn Apr 19, 2011 09:39 PM

          I do recall Cracker Barrell firing enployees for being gay. Thats pretty conservative.

          1. c
            CDouglas Apr 19, 2011 08:14 PM

            Whole Foods and their conservative leaning is the best example. I shop there almost exclusively for produce, seafood, cheese and prime, dry-aged beef.

            No matter how much it offends liberals they still shop there. I always wear my Gadsden flag t-shirt when slowly perusing every aisle.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CDouglas
              goodhealthgourmet Apr 19, 2011 08:48 PM

              Whole Foods and their conservative leaning is the best example.
              clarification: John Mackey, the founder and former CEO is an outspoken Libertarian who has pissed off a lot of people with his political views...but that doesn't mean the *corporation* is conservative-leaning. in fact, WFM doesn't disclose information about political contributions, so there's no way to know where corporate political support lies unless you somehow caught a firsthand glimpse of a check the company cut to a politician or campaign. the company also happens to have more than its share of liberal employees, and has a strict policy that prevents individual stores from donating food or funds to political or religious organizations unless the donation is used specifically for a non-secular event that serves the local community.

              for the record, i'm not a supporter of Whole Foods AT ALL, and i no longer shop in their stores. i just don't like to see misinformation floating around. oh, and Mackey is only really there in name at this point - he doesn't make the decisions anymore.

            2. s
              somervilleoldtimer Apr 15, 2011 08:48 PM

              Great original post! Thanks for asking this quesiton.

              1. byrd Apr 15, 2011 11:05 AM

                As a right wing "extremist", my favorite ice cream is still made by a "radical" left wing operation headquartered in Vermont..especially Cherry Garcia®.

                3 Replies
                1. re: byrd
                  amyzan Apr 15, 2011 07:39 PM

                  Ben and Jerry's was bought by Unilever in 2000.

                  1. re: amyzan
                    soupkitten Apr 27, 2011 09:19 AM

                    this is such a valid point, because the company hasn't repackaged the original "crunchy-hippie" ethos/look, either. for your bemusement-- exhibit a: an (empty) pint of b&j's "john lennon's visualize whirled peace" ice cream (burp)---- there are lennon quotes and peace symbols printed inside the carton and the blurb on the outside states:

                    "When Ben & Jerry's wanted to talk about peace we couldn't think of a better person to exemplify the message than John Lennon. Through his art and lyrics he imagined a world without war and asked us all to "Give Peace a Chance". We hope this whirly mixture of toffee cookies and fudge peace signs enlightens your bellies and souls and makes you ask what you can do to promote peace in you lives. visit benjerry.com for more about what you can do."

                    the jaded anti-establishment aging punk-rocker in me sneers at the blatant marketing to the pseudo-liberal baby boomer contingent, while the profits go into the pockets of conservative unilever ceos and shareholders, naturally ;) . . . then the closet idealist in me wonders if there is really anything left of the hippie contingent at Ben & Jerry's Inc. still trying to funnel some ice cream funds to save the whales type causes.

                    1. re: soupkitten
                      ninrn Apr 28, 2011 10:23 PM

                      I don't know that much about Unilever as a corporation, but their employees regularly contribute in overwhelming majority to Democratic candidates and leftist causes.

                2. t
                  treb Apr 15, 2011 10:34 AM

                  Little Debbie is owned by 7th day Adventists, don't see where any of this matters as long as you like their products.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: treb
                    srsone Apr 15, 2011 11:20 AM

                    i do like them..
                    and i didnt know that...

                    i think that most of the time people dont even think about it unless its either brought up by someone with an opposing viewpoint..or that the company/persons/owners(?) bring it up or are upfront about it...
                    like byrd says i think everybody knows ben and jerry are on the left...
                    doesnt change the fact that the ice cream is good...

                    or that chick-fil-a is a owned by a christian ..
                    they still make a good chicken product...

                    1. re: srsone
                      goodhealthgourmet Apr 15, 2011 05:02 PM

                      it doesn't bother me that CFA is owned by a Christian...but it *does* bother me that they print Bible verses on their packaging. fortunately i couldn't eat their food even if i wanted to, so it's not something i even encounter at this point in my life. but back in college i was certainly taken aback the first time i bought a lemonade there and saw the quote on the underside of my cup.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        Cathy Apr 15, 2011 06:28 PM

                        In-N-Out has the Bible verses on the wrappings and cups, not Chick Fil A

                        1. re: EWSflash
                          Cathy Apr 15, 2011 07:08 PM


                          The Bible verses at In-N-Out are about belief in the Lord. Nothing about anyone being bad or wrong...

                          I did not know about Alaska Airlines...http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alaska...

                          1. re: Cathy
                            goodhealthgourmet Apr 15, 2011 08:24 PM

                            interesting. they did at some point, or perhaps it was just a regional or local thing - this was in Atlanta in the early 90's. i've never been to In-N-Out.

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            srsone Apr 15, 2011 08:26 PM

                            i dont remember seeing bible verses on the wrappings or cups at CFA either

                            1. re: srsone
                              goodhealthgourmet Apr 15, 2011 09:39 PM

                              as i said to Cathy above, it may have been a local thing. or perhaps it was just the work of someone at that location with their own agenda? anyway, it was 20 years ago and only happened once, but the experience clearly stuck with me...though if my life depended on it i couldn't tell you now what the verse was :)

                      2. n
                        ninrn Apr 14, 2011 11:04 PM

                        Whole Foods Founder and CEO, John Mackey, is outspoken in his opposition to health insurance reform and any sort of government-funded health care.

                        Hugh Osmond is a major contributor to far right wing political organizations and candidates. He's the founder of Punch Taverns and PizzaExpress in the UK, and a leading partner in Sun Capital Partners which owns Boston Market, Bruegger’s Bagels, Fazoli’s Restaurants, Friendly's, Sweet Tomatoes, Souplantation, and Smokey Bones Barbeque.

                        Given that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzennegger are principal investors in the Planet Hollywood chain and are both vocal right wing supporters, I guess you could say Planet Hollywood is sort of a right wing chain.

                        Even if they are gay-friendly and have adopted a few eco-friendly practices, there's not much else in Chipotle's business practices that would make them a left-leaning or liberal operation.

                        Coca Cola heavily supports the Republican party and its candidates.

                        House of Blues is decidedly left-leaning.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ninrn
                          goodhealthgourmet Apr 14, 2011 11:25 PM

                          re: Whole Paycheck, Mackey no longer runs the show over there, and the company actually doesn't contribute to political campaigns.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            ninrn Apr 16, 2011 12:54 AM

                            While they don't disclose any direct election campaign contributions, Whole Foods spends tons of money on lobbyists and supports numerous pro-corporate trade organizations, and Mackey remains on the board.

                            1. re: ninrn
                              goodhealthgourmet Apr 16, 2011 10:10 AM

                              trust me, i'm most certainly not defending the company...but i worked for them relatively recently (notice the past tense) and i can tell you that Mackey's position on the board is little more than symbolic at this point - he doesn't have much pull anymore.

                        2. goodhealthgourmet Apr 13, 2011 08:05 PM

                          Target found itself facing a boycott by gay communities and gay rights activists last year after donating to Minnesota Forward, an organization that backed Tom Emmer, a Republican gubernatorial candidate who spoke out against homosexuality and gay marriage.

                          the former CEO of Domino's Pizza was a staunchly conservative right-wing supporter. he left the company last year, but i read something recently that said the current CEO and Chairman both contribute almost solely to Republicans and conservatives - i think that accounted for over 90% of all their donations.

                          AFAIK, Costco & Starbucks are both known for leaning to the left.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            daydream Apr 13, 2011 08:15 PM

                            Ahh, yes, I remember the Target situation. Didn't know Costco was known for leaning left. Thanks for your input!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                              sueatmo Apr 14, 2011 05:29 PM

                              AFAIK is what? Thanks!

                              1. re: sueatmo
                                srsone Apr 14, 2011 05:31 PM

                                As Far As I Know

                                1. re: srsone
                                  sueatmo Apr 14, 2011 07:26 PM


                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                    goodhealthgourmet Apr 14, 2011 09:35 PM

                                    sorry about that :) ironically that's a shorthand i learned here on CH!

                            2. s
                              sueatmo Apr 13, 2011 07:36 PM

                              I thought Chipotle was owned by McDonalds. And the chain seems pretty eco friendly. I don't much care for the food, however.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sueatmo
                                daydream Apr 13, 2011 07:44 PM

                                Actually, McDonald's gave funding to Chipotle from 1998 to 2006. In 2006, McD's fully divested from Chipotle altogether.

                                1. re: daydream
                                  twyst Apr 28, 2011 10:27 PM

                                  Chipotle went public in 2006 and has been one of the hottest stocks for the last five years. Their stock value doubled on the first day it was available and has doubled over and pover again since.

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