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National Restaurant Association - Restaurateurs: Make informed decisions; vote

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Restaurateurs: Make informed decisions; vote

As Election Day approaches, restaurateurs are encouraging employees to learn about issues that affect them, familiarize themselves with candidates' positions on those issues -- and get to the polls.

"A lot of them don't understand how a handful of votes can make a difference," says National Restaurant Association board member Wes Stouder, CEO Penguin Point Franchise Systems.

The Warsaw, Ind., company, which began as a carhop founded by Stouders' parents in 1950, today encompasses 15 restaurants, a catering business and a restaurant equipment firm. Of its 275 employees, many are first-time voters or teenagers who don't understand the importance of voting, he says.

So managers are charged with reminding employees about voter registration deadlines. Top management also have service responsibilities so they can get to know lawmakers on a first-name basis.

"Every citizen has a responsibility to do his or her part to shape the direction of this country," he says.

At Pie 'n Burger in Pasadena, Calif., company president discusses the importance of voting and making informed decisions with employees. But with customers, "We end up discussing politics more than voting," he says.

When employees ask about issues, Osborn tells them it's important to have a sense of what they're voting about and whether the issues work for them. He also encourages them to read the state voter guide, which is published in several languages.

"It's critical not to just go in and punch the card," he says. "You have to educate yourself. If you're going to cast your vote, you should make it for count for what you believe in."

Osborn also encourages other restaurateurs to educate themselves about issues thaty affect their bottom lines and know their candidates' stances on those issues.

See Osborn and Stouder in the NRA's new Get Out the Vote video.


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