By Chris Mohney
It’s Election Day in America, and once you’ve fulfilled your civic duty and voted—click here if you’re unsure of your local polling place—it’s time to enjoy the sweet rewards of participatory democracy. For example, you can get special discounts and freebies just for brandishing your “I Voted” sticker in cities like Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. And there are plenty of restaurant options near the ballot boxes in Seattle, too.
In some cities, voters waiting at the polls can get a free meal without even leaving the line, courtesy of Feed the Polls. A joint effort of the Migrant Kitchen, the Infatuation, and Zagat, Feed the Polls has raised almost $400,000 (off an initial goal of $50,000!) from generous donors nationwide to provide these meals to voters so they don’t have to give up their rights to stave off hunger.
Lastly, Zagat Stories recently asked people in the restaurant and hospitality industry what they feel is at stake in this landmark election. Here’s what they’re saying.
“If nothing happens at the federal level, it will be really bad for the city of Chicago. I think gridlock is the worst thing that can happen for local economies, but it’s the best thing that can happen for these companies that make up the S&P 500, and especially for those that show true monopolistic behavior. The only thing worse would be not knowing the outcome of the election on November 4.”
—Scott Weiner, Chicago Restaurants Need A Democratic Sweep On Election Day
“The restaurant business is entirely and comprehensively dependent upon immigrant labor. It’s the immigrants who grow the food and cook the food. Anybody who does not agree with this does not live in our reality.”
—Kim Luu-Ng, The Human Rights Of Immigrants, In Restaurants And Beyond
“This is the first time we’ve been a polling place, and it just felt very appropriate. We really wanted to make sure that we’re reaching out to the community as a safe place. For me, personally, I feel that we really can’t take our voices for granted. It’s the hundredth year of celebrating the 19th Amendment, and we are honoring that at Hotel Figueroa.”
—Connie Wang, Turning A Landmark Hotel And Restaurant Into A Polling Place
“What has to happen is, we need to get rid of tipping all together. That’s key for making the restaurant industry more equitable. I think that way we can at least help the back of the house. A lot of the back of the house does not have paperwork to even get unemployment. We have a huge crisis on our hands.”
—Anita Lo, What The Election Can And Can’t Fix About The Restaurant Industry