Election Day is tomorrow, November 3. Most companies have chosen to stay open for their regular business hours, which can make it tough for many workers who simply can't afford to take unpaid time off to exercise their right to vote.
Among the restaurant chains not offering time off to vote are McDonald's and Starbucks—but both companies have done much to encourage voting leading up to tomorrow, including helping register new voters and, in the case of Starbucks, offering to cover transportation costs for employees who are voting in-person or volunteering at polling locations.
On the other hand, some companies have chosen to shut their doors for at least a part of tomorrow in an effort to increase voter turnout, and/or are offering employees paid time off to vote. According to Business Insider, retailers like Patagonia and J. Crew are closing for the whole day, while Walmart, Apple, and Levi Strauss are giving employees three, four, and five paid hours off, respectively. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
What follows are the 6 known restaurant chains that are giving employees time off to go and vote, and/or are closing their locations in some way on Election Day. With hope, the efforts of these restaurants and businesses all around the nation will result in a 2020 voter turnout that exceeds the paltry showing of 2016, when just 56% of eligible voters cast ballots, according to the Pew Research Center.
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Usually known as the place you can count on for that burger 24 hours a day, 364 days a year (it only closes on Christmas Day), White Castle will be taking the morning off this Election Day, according to Business Insider.
All locations will be closed from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. so employees will have a chance to get to their local polling place and cast their vote. The time off will be paid in full, hopefully encouraging thousands of workers from the restaurant's 375-plus locations to participate in the election.
"Starting this year and going forward, White Castle will give team members time to exercise their right to vote in presidential elections," CEO Lisa Ingram said in a statement, according to Business Insider. "We believe voting is a right of responsible citizenship, and we want all our team members to have that opportunity." (Related: 6 Restaurant Chains Offering Free and Cheap Deals Right Now.)
Ben & Jerry's
Not only is beloved ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's closing its company-owned stores on Election Day, it's even closing its corporate offices and factories, the brand says. A temporary halt in production is a big deal and will cost B&J's money, but the company is committed to boosting voter turnout and has been vigorously encouraging people in stores, online, and via social media to vote. (Related: Every Ben & Jerry's Flavor—Ranked By Nutrition.)
This November 3, Shake Shack will close all of its 275 locations for three hours so employees have time to vote without missing work, according to Business Insider. In addition, workers who volunteered to work the polls will be given eight hours of paid time off. (Related: Here's How You Can Score Free Food By Voting This Year.)
KFC, Taco Bell, Habit Burger, and Pizza Hut
Ever wonder about those Pizza Hut-Taco Bell hybrid restaurants? Both are owned by parent company Yum! Brands, which also owns KFC and Habit Burger. Thanks to Yum! Brands' commitment to voting, all employees who work in corporate-owned KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, or Habit Burger locations will have paid time off to vote tomorrow, reports Forbes.
Not only is Sweetgreen taking part in the #TimeToVote movement (that has seen more than 700 companies commit to granting employees time off to vote) by giving its employees at its 100+ locations time off, but the salad chain has also set up a voter registration portal on its site to make it easy for employees to ensure their voter eligibility. (Related: Sweetgreen Just Announced Major Menu Cuts.)
It only makes sense that a restaurant chain dedicated to healthy food is also encouraging a healthy democracy by closing its nearly 60 locations for part of the day on Tuesday, says Forbes.
For more U.S. goodness, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.
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