Many business leaders want to show their support for the customers who support them — and to be part of an inclusive community in general. Whether your work in the food industry revolves around hospitality or manufacturing, you may be on the lookout for ways to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community.
There are plenty of ways to be a good ally and use your influence to show solidarity. With Pride Month coming up in June, you have a great opportunity to kick off your own campaign with food, beverages, and messages that display your support for all gender identities, sexual orientations, and human beings.
What can you do to let LGBTQ+ customers know your brand is safe and inclusive?
Fly the Flag
One of the easiest ways to indicate that you stand with the LGBTQ+ community is with visual cues, and these don’t require much fanfare. The rainbow flag has become an easy way to identify businesses that are LGBTQ-owned or LGBTQ-friendly, but you could also choose a modest display, such as placing a pride sticker on a window.
Some customers might not even notice such an understated display, but it signals to the LGBTQ+ community that your establishment is safe and inclusive.
Manufacturers that want to get in on the action could add inclusive language and symbols to product packaging, and perhaps even plan promotions or collaborations based around Pride Month.
Create Inclusive Policies
Company policies that pertain to inclusivity apply to both employees and consumers.
Organizational leaders should ensure their employees are treated respectfully. In policy materials, include language pertaining to discrimination and the penalties for treating others in a discriminatory manner. Many leaders create a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination within their establishments.
Other wise steps include examining hiring practices and putting safeguards in place for employees who come forward with complaints about harassment, intimidation, or discrimination. Inclusivity and diversity training should also be on your radar. Most importantly, create a culture of compassion and a supportive environment.
Make Restrooms Gender-Neutral
There’s nothing more basic than providing a clean, comfortable, and accessible place for employees and customers to heed the call of nature. After all, a toilet is the same no matter which room you place it in. Gender-neutral restrooms are for everyone. End of story.
Gay Icon Menu Items
Plenty of establishments use the names of celebrities or historical figures to spice up their menus with fun wordplay. Some have themes revolving around music or movies, while others may tap notorious gangsters or political figures. And some menu items are named because they are a favorite of someone notable (think Arnold Palmer).
Whether you oversee one restaurant or hundreds, and whether you do it for pride month or all year long, consider changing up the dishes on your dining or bar menu to reflect gay icons, from Dorothy and Liza to Harvey Milk and RuPaul.
This is not only inclusive and supportive when done tastefully, but it also gives you ample opportunity for marketing and promotion. Don’t forget to add Pride Month menu specials like rainbow desserts and cocktails.
The push to ban drag in various forms is seen by many as an alarming government overreach. Hosting a drag show during Pride Month — or every month — is a great way to support your local LGBTQ+ and drag community, not to mention that it allows you to offer fun, spirited entertainment to all patrons.
Showing allyship doesn’t have to be incredibly overt. The important thing is to cultivate an inclusive, accepting, and supportive environment. That said, you can do more by using visual cues, menu changes, events, and updates to your policies and procedures to promote a safe space for employees and patrons.
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