Many restaurants in the Chicago area change their menu’s to accommodate the dietary needs of the Catholic community during Lent.
Vegetarian dishes like cheese pizza and pepper and egg sandwiches are on almost every local menu. The McDonald’s marquee glows with the promise of a $1 fish sandwich, and you can’t drive through the city without seeing signs for a Friday night fish fry.
As a Catholic, I appreciate the number of choices I have for meals on Friday, but the way most restaurants handle the menu change annoys me.
Restaurants opportunistically capitalize on the needs of a population (in this case, Catholics) without specifically acknowledging said population or why they are offering these dishes on a “temporary, limited time” menu.
They dilute their marketing messages (ignoring the “why”) rather than view Lent as an opportunity to connect with and embrace the community that financially supports them. I don’t expect to see, “Jesus is Savior” written on the menu, but something simple, like the sign above from Buona Beef, feels more honest.
I know it isn’t in every brand’s best interest to acknowledge or associate with particular interest groups, but if you benefit from their way of life, it seems like the right thing to do.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Am I being too extreme?