Promo a Go-Go

“SEATTLE, December 10, 2004—Canlis Restaurant is giving away a private dinner party for 12 in order to thank guests who have ‘passed the torch’ of customer loyalty to the next generation. The winner will be announced on Saturday, December 11, on the 54th anniversary of Seattle’s legendary dining establishment.” (from a Canlis press release)

Though Hot Dish approves of rewarding multigenerational diner fidelity, we feel that Canlis’ efforts represent only one end of the dining spectrum. The potential for similar promotions in the family-restaurant sector is vast. Consider, if you will, these imaginary “media advisories”:

International House of Pancakes will reward customers who have ‘passed the baton’ of late-night, drunken hash-brown consumption by giving away a 3:30 a.m. breakfast for 30 featuring the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity® special (‘two eggs, two bacon strips, two pork sausage links and two buttermilk pancakes, crowned with your choice of fruit topping and whipped topping’) to celebrate the 46th anniversary of America’s most popular chain of pancake eateries.”

Dairy Queen to offer ‘Legacy Points’ to high-school students who can document that a parent or guardian hung out at least three times a week at the DQ nearest their school. Points will be awarded for every Blizzard® shake made with Oreo® cookies consumed during 2005, DQ’s 65th year in business.”

“To mark the 75th anniversary of Twinkies®, Hostess Cakes® is offering a $2,000 gift certificate—redeemable at gas stations and college cafeterias across the country—to the person who submits the oldest extant Hostess® snack cake in America. (Age of cake to be confirmed by a panel of professional chemists.)”

Buy! Bash Bush!

Yes, little Virginia, everything is political now, even your Christmas list. Thanks to sites like and, you can choose where to do your grocery shopping and holiday eating and drinking based on the campaign contributions of various retailers and restaurants. Thinking of bringing a gallon jug of wine to your sister’s house on Christmas Eve? E & J Gallo Winery gave $202,581 to Democrats this year, and $22,509 to the Republicans. Hungry after a long credit card workout? The Hard Rock Cafe donated $64,000 to the blue team, while Outback Steakhouse gave well over half a million to the reds. If you’re handling the turkey (or Tofurkey) dinner this year, please be advised that the Safeway chain gave 84 percent of its $146,000 ’04 donations to Mr. Bush’s party, while Price Club/Costco and Whole Foods gave nearly $200,000 each to the Democrats. All the information on these sites was taken from data in the public domain; records from the Federal Election Committee and the Center for Responsive Politics are available online, and both Choose the Blue and Buy Blue provide link to those sites. Giving new meaning to the lyric “making his list and checking it twice,” donation habits of clothing companies (J Crew and Skechers didn’t give a cent to the Republicans), online superstores ( gave more than you might guess), hotel chains, airlines, and more are also listed.

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