- OpenTable is celebrating Pride Month by highlighting LGBTQ+ owned and operated restaurants in Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., according to a blog post on its website.
- In the U.S., OpenTable is highlighting the top 100 LGBTQ-owned and operated restaurants on its website, complete with locations, descriptions and reviews. Twelve restaurants are highlighted in the U.K., eight in Canada and 10 in Australia.
- The restaurants are curated for either being LGBTQ+ owned and operated or for doing something significant for the community.
OpenTable is hardly alone in launching a Pride-themed campaign. Last year, Uber Eats did something similar in highlighting its LGBTQ+-friendly restaurant partners on its website while online ordering platform Olo turned its social media profile photos rainbow this year as CEO/founder Noah Glass shared that he is inspired by the team's efforts to demonstrate pride, using the hashtag #HappyPride2019.
Restaurant brands are also jumping on the rainbow bandwagon. Last week, sweetgreen launched a campaign in which $1 from each salad bowl purchased on June 2 went toward Covenent House in support of LGBTQ+ youth. Starbucks also launched a Pride Month campaign where it will match donations up to $250,000 to Born This Way, an organization founded by Lady Gaga focused on empowering youths. fresh&co is rolling out new menu items, The Love Salad and The Rainbow Sandwich, for Pride Month and will also donate 20% of sales from these items to the nonprofit organization NYC Pride. Even QSR giant Pizza Hut is getting involved, sharing a photo on its Instagram account to announced that heart-shaped pizzas are available specifically for Pride Month.
This LGBTQ marketing barrage is nothing new. In 2014, Burger King launched a "Be Your Way" campaign complemented by a "Proud Whopper," for example. But LGBTQ-focused marketing campaigns are certainly growing, and for good reason. According to Kantar Consulting's Purpose 2020 report, brands with a high sense of purpose have experienced a brand valuation increase of 175% throughout the past 12 months, compared to the average growth rate of 86% and 70% for brands without a significant sense of purpose.
The trajectory for LGBTQ campaigns specifically has been growing for the past four or five years. According to Think With Google, the marriage equality fight and diversity in the workplace have contributed to this trend. In 2014, prior to marriage equality, 45% of consumers younger than 34 years old said they were more likely to do repeat business with an LGBT-friendly company. Further, according to research from Edelman, a brand's social and political stance is a deciding factor for 64% of consumers globally — including 59% of Americans — on whether or not to buy from the company.
Cause marketing is clearly a trend many consumers are interested in. For OpenTable restaurant partners, it's also an opportunity for them to gain elevated exposure amid the sea of over 50,000 restaurants featured on the app, perhaps providing a brief competitive advantage.
Of course, there's always the risk of alienating customers who either may not share the same views or are simply turned off by brands taking a stance. But OpenTable walked the social line just a few months ago with its similar International Women's Day campaign and if that campaign didn't go well, the company likely wouldn't be doing this one.