Finally, your favourite fast-food brands have come out openly on social media in support of the Black Live Matter movement. The brands are speaking freely against racial discrimination after hundreds of thousands of protesters have marched in streets across the US after the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers.
The fast-food chains have joined forces on Twitter to announce a deep commitment to supporting their employees who belong to the black community.
I mean, usually, the brands and businesses choose to stay silent on controversial matters especially if it involves government only to keep themselves out of trouble.
So what is making things a little different this time?
The answer is brand marketing.
I will get back to this but first, let’s have a look at the list of Fast-food brands that are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Joe Erlinger the President of McDonald’s USA, has broken his silence on the issue with a statement after the events in Louisville, Georgia, New York, and Minneapolis. The leader expressed his support for the anti-racist movement on behalf of his brand.
“Our actions matter, and so we must recommit to our shared values of diversity and inclusion,” – Joe Erlinger
In addition to this, Mcdonalds released a tweet on its official twitter account remembering 7 black Americans who died in police custody or because of racial discrimination. The post includes a promise of a donation to the National Urban League and the NAACP.
They were one of us:
Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Alton Sterling. Botham Jean. Atatiana Jefferson. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/s1UhP5vncv
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) June 3, 2020
2. Burger King
Burger King tweeted in all-lowercase, “when it comes to people’s lives, there’s only one way to have it. without discrimination”. Modifying its own slogan ‘Have It Your Way’ into an anti-discrimination message.
we stand with you in support of equality and justice for black lives and we will use our platform, our position, and our voice to do so.
when it comes to people’s lives, there’s only one way to have it. without discrimination.
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) June 2, 2020
KFC USA, have also come out in support of their black employees, partners and customers. Furthermore, as per KFC representative the company is holding panel as a part of fighting against racial discrimination.
We support our Black team members, partners, and customers. We are committed to using our voice to speak up but more importantly, using this time to listen, learn, and act to create positive social change. We have to do more. We will do more. pic.twitter.com/hUKzKTfN0p
— KFC (@kfc) June 4, 2020
[UPDATED ON: 27th June 2020]
Today, on June 26th, 2020, KFC has announced its first step in its fight against racial injustice toward the black community.
Yum! Brands, the company which operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, The Habit Burger Grill, and WingStreet made a $100 million commitment over the next five years to fights inequality, unlocking opportunity for employees, frontline restaurant teams and communities across all its brands.
This is the second tweet posted by KFC on the Black Lives Matter after June 4th, 2020. There is no other post by the brand between these 2 tweets, seems like the brand took its time focusing on its first step towards this issue.
— KFC (@kfc) June 26, 2020
KFC pledged $1M to financially support national justice initiatives with direct input from its restaurant managers. Furthermore, the brand also partnering with local organizations that support Black communities across the country, including Change Today, Change Tomorrow.
“Today, I’m proud to announce Yum! Brands’ global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative with a $100 million commitment over the next five years. This initiative builds on more than 20 years of investing in our people-first culture. Across KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill, and alongside our franchisees, we will tackle inequality with an emphasis on three areas that can unlock opportunity for our employees, frontline restaurant teams and communities around the world: equity and inclusion, education and entrepreneurship.”– says David Gibbs, Yum! CEO
Starbucks seems one step ahead compare to other companies in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Firstly, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson conducted a forum on racial injustice in which 2000 of its employees participated. Secondly, the coffee giant committed to donate $1 million to the organizations promoting racial equity. These organizations will be nominated by Starbucks employees.
Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 4, 2020
“We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change… We’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you. Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt. We are so proud of your passionate support of our common humanity.” says executives Roz Brewer, Rossann Williams, and Zing Shaw in a public letter posted on their website.
The brand also announced designing 250,000 new t-shirts for employees to wear to demonstrate their allyship. Slogans like “Black Lives Matter”, “No Justice No Peace” and “It’s not a moment, it’s a movement” is printed on these t-shirts which are being designed by Starbucks Black Partner Network.
View this post on Instagram
Black Lives Matter. We continue to listen to our partners and communities and their desire to stand for justice together. In response to this historic time, our store partners can show support with their own t-shirts, pins and name tags. To learn more, visit the link in our bio. The Starbucks Black Partner Network has also co-designed t-shirts with this graphic that will soon be sent to 250,000+ store partners.
5. Taco Bell
Next on our list is Taco Bell who comes out on social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement by criticizing racism and violence against the Black community.
“I will not pretend to understand the weight of the years of injustice and inequality that our Black friends and colleagues have experienced,” says Taco Bell’s CEO Mark King.
Read the full letter from our CEO, Mark King.
We’re muting our channels for the rest of the week to reflect, learn, and listen.
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) June 2, 2020
6. Domino’s Pizza
On 12th June 2020, Ritch Allison, CEO of Domino’s Pizza, Inc., in an open letter have committed to contribute $3 million over the next three years, both to organizations that make a difference in Black communities and internal programs. The brand began with donating to Black Girls Code and the National Urban League.
“Black Lives Matter, and so do the actions we take.”, says Ritch Allison
We’re focused on Education, Service & Opportunity. We begin today w/ donations to @BlackGirlsCode & @NatUrbanLeague. $1M of our commitment will establish Domino’s Black Franchise Opportunity Fund, to support current & future Black team members’ journeys to entrepreneurship. pic.twitter.com/ftBP9cnsr5
— Domino’s Pizza (@dominos) June 12, 2020
Wendy’s, another American international fast food restaurant chain, has released a series of tweets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The company announced making a $500,000 donation to social justice organizations, tweeting that “a lot of people are hurting because of blatant racism against black people.”
Tweets for Wendy’s in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
We’re about putting our money where our mouth is. So here’s our money and here’s our mouth. We are committed to donating $500k to support social justice, the youth and education in the Black community starting with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and we’ll have receipts.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) June 3, 2020
In the coming days, we’ll be using our Twitter account to amplify Black voices. Because what’s the point of this big platform if we don’t use it for what matters during times like these?
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) June 3, 2020
Brand Marketing Behind Black Lives Matter Movement
COVID-19 Pandemic has already caused so much trouble for fast-food brands, they are in no shape of losing more customers than they already had, especially by of any controversy which can impact brand image.
There are lots of speculations going on social media that by running the Black Lives Matter campaign, brands might want to improve their image in front of their customers by sending out a positive message through supporting racial equality.
Recently, some brands got indulged in controversies that had affected their image and decreased trust among the customers.
For instance, McDonald’s faced strikes from fast-food workers in over 20 different cities of the US including Los Angeles and California during the pandemic. As per its workers, the brand was not permitting them a 14-day paid leave to self-isolate after 4 of their co-workers at the location have been tested positive for COVID-19.
McDonald’s workers have also claimed that the brand has told them to use coffee filters or dog diapers as they ran out of the masks. Also, the managers are avoiding the deep cleaning of the store in order to avoid losing customers.
Similarly, as mentioned above Starbucks also received backlash on social media for banning their employees from wearing any attire or accessories which support black lives matter movement.
As per the company’s dress code policy, “employees were not permitted to wear buttons or pins that advocate a political, religious or personal issue”, which is actually a good decision by a company that wants to create an unbiased and disciplined working environment.
But after getting heavily criticized on social media the brand had reversed its policy and publicly proclaim its support for the movement and pledged to do more to combat racial injustice.
Also, the donation from Wendy’s for the Black Lives Matter movement came after getting trolled on social media for donating $500,000 to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
So, now you can see the bigger picture and can understand the actual marketing agendas behind these fast-food chains who had suddenly started supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The intention of supporting the Black Lives Matter movement may vary from brand to brand but their final objective is same i.e. to improve their brand image in the eyes of the public and to give a more positive impression of their brand out in the world by associating themselves with such causes.