BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Very Costly Burger

By now, many of you have seen the web-sites devoted to "exposing" the political leanings of our nation's restaurants and stores by posting the sum-total of their politcal donations. Buyblue.com and Choosetheblue.com are just a couple. Check 'em out.

Those sites claim that, "All (the) numbers used...pertain to the 2003-2004 election cycle and were gathered from information in the public domain, including data from the Federal Election Commission's website (www.fec.gov) and from the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) as available on December 12, 2004, unless otherwise noted." Fine.

The idea behind those sites is quite simple; if you knew that the Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse were turbo-Republican...you wouldn't give 'em your biz...if you were turbo-liberal. Or vice versa. Or something like that.

Now...

According to Choosetheblue, most of the companies involved in the food biz are turbo-Republican. Great. Nice to know how much money the Outback Steakhouse sent the Bushies. (Strangely, ARBY'S is not! They gave most of their cash to the Dems. How the hell did that happen?)

However, the most interesting thing about the donation charts...is the exposure of the PARENT COMPANIES involved in the food biz.

Simply put: all the restaurants you see at the mega-mall-sprawl ARE OWNED BY THE SAME G'DAMN PEOPLE.
Brinker International, a company that (alledgedly) gave 92% of its cash to the Repubs, owns THE CORNER BAKERY, CHILI'S, BIG BOWL, MAGGIANO'S, ROMANO'S MACARONI GRILL, ON THE BORDER and the ROCKFISH SEAFOOD COMPANY.

Darden Restaurants, a company that (alledgedly) gave 91% of its cash to the Repubs, owns THE RED LOBSTER, THE OLIVE GARDEN, BAHAMA BREEZE, and SMOKEY BONES.

And our dear friends at McDonald's, who sent a measly 80% of their cash to the Repubs, run CHIPOTLE, BOSTON MARKET, PRET A MANGER and the AROMA CAFE.
I could go on and on...so I won't.

One thing is clear, though: we've been Disneyfied. Goodbye mom & pops, hello HomeTownOliveCornerBostonMacaroniMarket.

Why anyone would eat at a Maggiano's...when there are tons of great mom & pops nearby...totally beyond me. Yes, I know, the Maggiano's at The Grove is the same as the Maggiano's at the Twin Pines mall, so blah blah blah. But...come on. It's killing us and turning us all into f'ing robots. We're eating CONCEPTS...measured out to the nth degree...and not eating authentic meals.

I imagine a giant Brinker factory...out in the middle of nowhere...making food for Maggiano's AND Chili's...from the same damn vat of yellow goo.

You know what I'm saying.

Let's stop eating at fake restaurants. Please?

More later...

4 Comments:

  • I am definitely Conservative AND pro-family, but I can read other opinions without getting bent out of shape, something both sides tend to lack at times. Anyway, I wanted to say that your post on how Republicans own a lot of the restaurants seems to make sense to me just because a lot of business people with the understanding of how this whole thing works - investing, owning instead of renting, calling your shots instead of punching a time clock actually - are Republicans . Those are the ways you really provide for your family and the generations to come. No one will ever get ahead WORKING at McDonald's. You need to own them. That said, I personally hate eating at such places (yeah, I know, but the earlier comments were from a business stand point, not as a consumer) and I totally agree with you that there are too many real restaurants out there to eat at chains. I think that's what I originally wanted to post, but then went on about the business stuff. Anyway, your viewpoints are interesting as is your writing style.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:45 PM  

  • VERY MUCH appreciate the comments above. I am liberal, pro-family, and anti-Chili's. Not because they are "Republican," but because they suck. And because I live in a city with El Chavo and El Cholo and Casa Vega.

    Again, much thanks.

    By Blogger Brendan, at 2:30 PM  

  • Okay, first of all, why does a person need to ever include the phrase "pro-family" with anything? What does that even mean? Are there people out there that think that families are evil and the undoing of our society? Because the fact that someone uses the phrase "pro-family" implies that "anti-family" exists. More of the Republican linguistics machine at work.

    My other point on Anonymous's comment is that they aren't Republicans because they own some restaurants -- or a couple McDonald's franchises. This isn't "Oh, I want to pay fewer taxes" -- please, dig deeper. They're Republicans because the party has become completely pro-corporation. These aren't some rich guys that own a few restaurants -- you're talking about billion dollar corporations that need looser environmental and food restrictions to keep the chicken they buy from Tyson cheap.

    Plus -- think about Tort Reform! Brings down worker's comp insurance because of lawsuit caps, so therefore reduces the cost of manufacturing various foods and meats, therefore brings down the price of beef -- and voila! I can sell my burger for 89 cents instead of 95! Profit margin!

    Sorry... I probably ranted. Didn't mean to. I just... the food thing is really screwed up, and we all should be mad about it, red and blue.

    By Blogger Betsy, at 3:08 PM  

  • What's a fake restaurant? They all serve calories, yeah? Some of them have market-tested, prefabricated decor and themes that make them seem phony, but it's not like you go in and they pantomime giving you food for money.

    The problem is corporatising our food production and supply. Just to take one aspect - the franchisee. Conservative pro-family Anonymous posits that the franchise ownners are the ones getting away from punching a clock and owning their own thing and this is why they donate to the Republicans. I don't believe this is an accurate view. An independent restaurant owner is completely different from someone who owns a McDonald's or Subway franchise. The franchisees, at least in the analysis of 'Fast Food Nation' and in my own teen experience, are overworked middle-management employees who seem like glorified sharecroppers or field overseers in the corporate distribution system. The donations, I don't think, come from these people. The donations come from corporate headquarters, whose executors own everything and control the food supply.

    There's a phrase related to torts that needs to be excised from the language. The movement using that phrase really wants to eliminate corporate liability for any damage they inflict on individuals, the public at large, and our environment and pass it off as an administrative tweak of the legal system. It's not. It's a staggering ploy to legalise abuse and abrogate responsibility and accountability throughout society. And the weird thing is, it proposes to do so by eliminating the market incentives to hold companies responsible for their action. Free market's fine, I guess, as long as you take away its power to punish wrongdoing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 AM  

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