July 15, 2019

Top 20 Political Spenders in the U.S. Restaurant and Beverage Industry

Since 1990, the food and beverage industry has contributed $106.5 million to political campaigns at the federal level, with 69 percent going to Republicans. The industry, for two decades, has concentrated more than half of its lobbying contributions on Republicans and in the 2008 election cycle, it gave nearly $16.3 million overall.

What’s more, the industry spends tens of millions a year on lobbying expenditures — paying for lobbyists and various message campaigns. Lobbying expenditures spiked from nearly $22.1 million in 2008 to nearly $56.8 million in 2009.

All of these figures are compiled and kept by the Center for Responsive Politics, a national non-profit organization that is the premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics.

Here’s the center’s most recent list of top contributors in the Food & Beverage category. OSI Restaurant Partners is the company for Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Bonefish Grill and Roy’s. Darden Restaurants is anchored by Red Lobster and Olive Garden.

One additional note: Featured fifth in this list is the National Restaurant Association, which is a perennial heavy hitter, giving close to $1 million in the 2008 election cycle.

Food processors and grocery chains are tracked in a separate category.

OSI Restaurant Partners $426,900
Darden Restaurants $374,150
Coca-Cola Co. $354,426
McDonald’s Corp. $329,886
National Restaurant Assn $317,350
PepsiCo Inc. $257,238
CKE Restaurants $211,466
NV Restaurant Services $92,400
American Beverage Assn $88,500
YUM! Brands $80,065
Brinker International $79,688
TACO PAC $71,750
Starbucks Corp. $60,228
Pepsi-Cola National Brand Beverage $58,100
Waffle House Inc. $53,250
Coca-Cola Puerto Rico Bottlers $52,500
Wendy’s Co. $50,502
Russell Stover Candies $50,100
Assn of KFC Franchises $44,250
Pizza Hut Franchisees Assn. $43,500

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