Socially Conscious Dining & Drinking

Wed. August 22, 2012 12:00 AM
by Rick Karlin

With the recent dust up with Chick-fil-A I got to thinking how other food businesses rate on LGBT issues. At Market Days The Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRC) was passing out a brochure listing the HRC rankings of how supportive various companies are in LGBT issues. To say the information was eye opening was an understatement.

HRC rates companies on a scale of 0-100 on their support of LGBT issues. Companies rated 80-100 are rated green, 50-75 yellow rating and anything below 50%, red. Quite a few organizations rate perfect scores of 100. Some organizations have refused to respond to HRC's survey and are rated purple.

As a community, one of our strengths is our ability to control our spending habits. In the 1970s when the Florida Orange Growers' Association refused to censure their spokesperson, former beauty queen Anita Bryant for her anti-gay activities and speech, our community, and supporters, banded together and refused to buy Florida citrus products. It wasn't long before the Association canned Bryant.

The next time you are dining out, at the bars or shopping in the grocery or liquor store, let your purchases reflect your commitment to companies that support LGBT rights.

The following food service companies scored 80-100 (green) on the HRC survey on LGBT issues: Darden Restaurants (LongHorn Steakhouse; Olive Garden; Red Lobster; Seasons 52), The Capital Grille, Starbucks Seattle's Best Coffee and BP's Wild Bean Café, although you may choose not to support that for environmental reasons.

Rated Yellow with a score of 50 to 75 are: T.G.I. Friday's, Chipotle, McDonald's, The Palm, Chili's, Maggiano's Little Italy, Burger King.

Avoid these places, rated Red with a score of less than 50: A&W, KFC, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, WingStreet, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Domino's Pizza, Krispy Kreme, Wendy's, Dairy Queen, Bob Evans and Mimi's Café.

The following businesses not only were rated Red, but received a score of zero: Caribou Coffee, Jack in the Box, Qdoba Mexican Grill and OSI Restaurant Partners owners of Bonefish Grill; Carrabba's Italian Grill; Fleming's Prime Steakhouse; Outback Steakhouse; Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine.

Many liquor companies scored a perfect 100 on the HRC GLBT issues scale, so let's offer a toast to Brown-Forman Brands (Bel Arbor, Canadian Mist, Chambord, Don Eduardo, Early Times, el Jimador, Fetzer, Finlandia, Jack Daniel's, Korbel, Sonoma-Cutrer, Southern Comfort, Tuaca and Woodford Reserve, among others), Diageo Brands (Bailey's, Captain Morgan, Cîroc, Crown Royal, Dom Perignon, Don Julio, Guinness, Hennessey, Johnnie Walker, Jose Cuervo, Ketel One, Smirnoff, Sterling Vineyards and Tanqueray, among others), Miller-Coors (which, in addition to brands bearing those names, includes Blue Moon, Foster's, Grolsch, IceHouse, Killian's Irish Red, Leinenkugel's, Milwaukee's Best and Molson, among others). Other green rated potables include; Anheuser-Busch (Bass, Beck's, Goose Island, Kirin, Rolling Rock and Stella Artois).

The only liquor company to score a mid-range yellow, E. & J. Gallo Winery, manufactures; André, Ballatore, Barefoot, Barefoot Bubbly, Bartles & Jaymes, Boone's Farm, Ecco Domani, Livingston Cellars, Turning Leaf and Wild Vines among others.

When it comes to those brands scoring red, there's no mid-point, all of the following brands scored zero: Arbor Mist, Corona, Negra Modelo, Svedka and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi.

Support those companies that support us and let the others know they won't be getting any of your hard-earned dollars until they change their policies on LGBT issues.