How Restaurants and Food Brands Can Shine During Pride Month

Blog image Pride Month
May 10, 20245 min
Yaseen Burt photo
Yaseen Burt

Pride Month, celebrated every June, is a vibrant time to commemorate the LGBTQ+ community’s history, resilience, and ongoing fight for equality. It’s a festival of love, self-expression, and community spirit, attracting widespread inclusivity and support.

For restaurants and food and beverage (F&B) companies, Pride Month presents a unique opportunity to connect with customers, celebrate inclusivity, and potentially boost sales in a meaningful way.

Here, we explore how restaurants and food brands can authentically participate in Pride Month celebrations and create a lasting and meaningful impact.

Pride Month Restaurant and Food Brand Campaigns

In recent years, many restaurants and food brands have stepped up with innovative ideas to celebrate Pride Month. Pride marketing campaigns have become increasingly popular and important for businesses to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Here are some shining examples of Pride Month restaurant and food brand campaigns.

1. Starbucks’ #whatsyourname campaign

In 2019, Starbucks launched its #whatsyourname campaign, which celebrated self-expression and diversity in honor of Pride Month. The campaign featured a series of limited edition t-shirts with the phrase “Proud to be” and customers were encouraged to share their own stories and identities using the hashtag #whatsyourname on social media.

2. Ben & Jerry’s ‘Love is Love’ ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s has always been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, and they continue to show their support during Pride Month with their ‘Love is Love’ ice cream flavor. The flavor features raspberry ice cream with chunks of chocolate fudge brownie and chunks of sugar cookie dough, representing the different flavors and ingredients that make up the LGBTQ+ community.

3. McDonald’s rainbow fry boxes

In 2019, McDonald’s celebrated Pride Month by introducing rainbow fry boxes in select locations. The colorful boxes were designed to show support for the LGBTQ+ community and spread a message of love and acceptance.

4. Shake Shack’s ‘Proud Burger’

To celebrate Pride Month in 2021, Shake Shack introduced the ‘Proud Burger’ at their New York City locations. The burger featured a custom-made bun with seven different colors, representing the rainbow flag that is synonymous with LGBTQ+ pride.

5. Whole Foods’ #loveconquershate campaign

Whole Foods launched its #loveconquershate campaign during Pride Month in 2018, which aimed to promote inclusivity and diversity within its stores and communities. The campaign featured a limited edition t-shirt with the phrase “Love Conquers Hate” and a portion of the proceeds were donated to support LGBTQ+ organizations.

How Can Restaurants and Food Brands Participate in Pride Month Celebrations?

Building genuine connections with inclusivity

While rainbow-themed merchandise and limited-edition products are common features of Pride Month marketing, consumers are increasingly discerning. Simply adopting rainbow colors doesn’t equate to genuine inclusivity.

Going beyond the symbolic, food companies can collaborate with local or national organizations on initiatives such as co-hosting events, donating a portion of proceeds to LGBTQ+ causes, or offering employee volunteering opportunities.

Yet, showcasing support for the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t be confined to Pride Month. Ensuring your staff is well-versed in LGBTQ+ issues can create a lasting and authentically inclusive environment for all customers and employees. Additionally, continuously advocating for LGBTQ+ rights through your actions and messaging means your efforts are sincere and will surely foster a culture of tolerance and inclusivity.

Creative campaigns and initiatives

Once you’ve established a foundation of genuine support and demonstrated a commitment to inclusivity, go the extra mile with things like limited-edition menus or dishes with a portion of the proceeds donated to LGBTQ+ causes.

You can also launch social media campaigns featuring stories of LGBTQ+ employees, customers, or partners or host special events like brunches, movie nights, or cooking classes that celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity, and raise awareness for LGBTQ+ causes.

Or why not design limited-edition packaging or merchandise with a portion of the proceeds going to LGBTQ+ organizations? Ensure the designs are respectful and avoid trivializing Pride symbols; these initiatives demonstrate your commitment and actively contribute to LGBTQ+ progress.

Pride: more than a month, it’s a mindset

True solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community extends far beyond the month of June. By actively engaging with the community throughout the year, businesses can make a lasting difference. Seek out and partner with LGBTQ+ owned food suppliers, restaurants, or caterers in your area to show your support for this often marginalized minority.

Companies can also review their hiring, benefits, and non-discrimination policies to ensure they are fully inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. Staying informed about the ongoing challenges and triumphs can go a long way to cultivate open communication channels and being receptive to feedback on how your business can create a more welcoming and inclusive space.

A Year-round Commitment

Pride Month is a celebration of love, diversity, and the ongoing pursuit of true equality. For restaurants and food brands, it’s a chance to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity, forge meaningful connections, and make a positive social impact.

While Pride Month provides a powerful spotlight, genuine allyship extends far beyond colorful campaigns and special events. Businesses have the opportunity to foster lasting change by integrating inclusive practices into their daily operations.

Let’s remember, the rainbow flag flies strongest when supported by a foundation of understanding, respect, and unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community – not just in June, but all year long.

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