Open Carry Restaurants Cash In on the Gun Control Debate

A lesson for businesses that stand up for conservative values.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsGiven the tenor of the gun control debate in the United States, it had to happen sooner or later. As more retailers are doing what has been deemed more acceptable –usually by left-leaning advocates -- and asking customers not to carry guns into their stores, the inevitable opposite reaction has now occurred.  This “man bites dog” scenario will be interesting to watch as it unfolds.  So often, it is the politically correct anti-gun activist who posts policies – yet here someone took advantage of the obvious gap and is using it rather cleverly.

Lauren Boebert, who owns Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado (and no, the location is not made up; it is real and open) told CNN she had no plans to become the “poster girl” for open-carry gun laws.  Yet, she has… and, so far, business is booming. Boebert said her choice had nothing to do with public relations for her eatery or for the gun control debate in the United States, but that it stemmed from a violent crime that occurred in an alley right behind her shop. After a man was killed, Boebert started carrying a pistol to protect herself. Today, she carries her subcompact semi-automatic on her hip as she waits tables and greets customers. No one bats an eyelash. After all, many of the other wait staff and customers also openly carry. Shooters is far from the only place this is happening.  The news of the open-gun policy, however, has put it on the map.

Now, while Boebert said this was all for personal protection, some restaurants are even offering discounts and specials for diners who come in armed. Taking what works for Shooters Grill, the Shiloh Brew and Chew in Tennessee, All Around Pizza in Virginia, Cajun Meats in Louisiana, The Cajun Experience in Virginia and many others all advertise openly as gun-friendly establishments. (Michael Bloomberg was clearly not the mayor of these places.)

If you noticed a trend in the locations and menu styles of the restaurants in question, you should not be surprised. This move is far more than a clever marketing gimmick; it is geared toward a wanting demographic and business owners are doing what they can to shore up their base, and give those folks a reason to come in and then spread the word.  Energizing word of mouth is a time-tested and primary PR protocol for any business that depends on repeat business. Most businesses do not need 51 percent of the population to patronize in order to make money. Politicians need 51 percent, yet a very successful business may need anywhere from 1 to 25 percent of a given population to make a lot of money.

Not being all things to all people works fine if your audience is big enough and loyal. In the case of the guns, too often conservative issues are ignored because business owners may be concerned with a liberal media backlash. There seems to be a sizable portion of people who think and vote conservatively, but are not as comfortable being as outspoken as their liberal colleagues for fear of financial reprisal.

There’s nothing quite like giving them a reason to cheer and onlookers a reason to come inside and try. These gun-happy diners are doing both … at least for the short term. There are indeed businesses not afraid to stand up for conservative issues.

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