To remind presidential hopefuls and Americans of the important role restaurants play in campaigns, as well as their impact on local and national economies, the National Restaurant Association launched a 2016 campaign: #RestaurantsDecide.
As presidential candidates work their way across the U.S. ahead of the November election, they are often spotted campaigning in restaurants, diners, and coffee shops. To highlight the pivotal role restaurants play along the campaign trail in every state—not just those with primaries—the National Restaurant Association launched a social media initiative: #RestaurantsDecide.
From now until the election, NRA will follow candidates as they stop into mom-and-pop and name-brand establishments to deliver messages to supporters and inquisitive voters. Along the way, and by using Facebook and Twitter, NRA will share the stories of restaurateurs hosting the candidates, as well as highlight the value restaurants bring to the community and the role they play in the political process, Digital and Media Relations Manager Jeremy Kirkpatrick told Associations Now.
“Restaurants are places people go to celebrate milestones, have business meetings, and spend time with their family,” Kirkpatrick said. They “truly are the original social network.” and are the “perfect cross-section of America.” Step inside, and he said you’ll find every voting block represented between the patrons, employees, managers, and owners.
As the second-largest private-sector employer in the U.S., Kirkpatrick said restaurants also have a great impact on the local and national economy. Just look at the next two states with primary elections: Nevada’s restaurants employ roughly 200,000 people, or about 16 percent of the state workforce. In South Carolina, 213,000 people are employed by restaurants, accounting for 11 percent of the workforce.
Candidates want to reach their constituency and get votes, NRA Media Relations and Public Affairs Director Christin Fernandez told Associations Now. Sharing ideas over a meal is a great way to get their message out. While Fernandez notes it is fun for folks to find out which restaurant a candidate was spotted in, she said NRA’s campaign is more about informing Americans about what goes into running a restaurant and highlight the issues the group is working on for its members.
For example, NRA is using this new effort to push its existing Restaurant Roundtable grassroots campaign that encourages members to meet with their members of Congress to talk about issues facing the industry—like healthcare, immigration, and taxes. NRA wants to now expand these discussions to include presidential candidates and is asking its members to do so as candidates pop into their restaurants to campaign.
America’s restaurants bring voters and their civic leaders to the table …,” said Cicely Simpson, NRA’s executive vice president for government affairs and policy, in a statement. “#RestaurantsDecide will capitalize on these moments to promote the economic success stories of restaurants in every district and state across the country.”