Voting With Your Wallet


Steven Hedlund

Published on
November 4, 2008

Tight races, landslide races, acceptance speeches, concession speeches and long lines at polling places are synonymous with Election Day. Apparently, so is free grub.

One Orange County seafood spot was among the dozens of restaurants nationwide that offered free or discounted food yesterday to drive guest traffic and grab a little free publicity.

Scott's Seafood in Costa Mesa, Calif., offered $10 off lunch or dinner to patrons who said they voted. (It's illegal to reward people for voting or not voting, so Scott's, like many restaurants, including Starbucks, Krispy Kreme and Chick-fil-A, used the honor system.)

And it paid off. Jennifer Simmons, director of marketing, says the 500-seat restaurant's was "really busy" at lunch, though she expected it to be calmer at dinner because many people vote after work and then follow the election coverage on TV at home. She says the restaurant, one of seven independently owned Scott's locations in California, has stepped up its marketing efforts under new ownership this year and is doing "pretty well," despite the economic slump.

Scott's wasn't the only seafood spot yesterday to lure hungry, or thirsty, voters via promotional efforts.

Depending on their party affiliation, patrons were either raising their glasses or drowning their sorrows at McCormick & Schmick's in Sacramento, Calif., and Blue2O in Cherry Hill, N.J. Among the elixirs McCormick & Schmick's poured were the "Love on the Bar-Racks" and "McCain Maverick-tini," while Blue2O, a trendy new grilled-seafood eatery outside Philadelphia, featured the "GOP," "DEM Martini" and "Undecided."

In today's uneasy economic climate, restaurant operators need to go the extra mile to drive guest traffic, especially on a Tuesday.

Best regards,
Steven Hedlund
Associate Editor
SeaFood Business

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