Guide to Ethical Eating

An idea I have had ever since the controversy over supporting Chick-fil-a at our school arose is a guide to ethical eating. I’ve heard of scandals from different fast food chains that have made me question whether I should support them. I am ashamed to say I have sometimes made the decision to continue eating at a restaurant that has questionable morals, just because I was content with the unknown. Regardless, as awareness with the Black Lives Matter movement grows in the nation, one of the lessons I have drawn is that it is important to always stick to your morals and to neever support unethical people—and companies.

Especially during these times, when people are dividing between those who support the Black Lives Matter Movement and those who stand against us, we should never ignore and take into account the silence of large companies that have the ability to help this movement.

For context, I did limited research on these companies, searching simply for past scandals, where and if they make donations and any involvement they have with the Black Lives Matter movement. If you would like to read up on any information I stated, I have added all websites I used to research. Note that the information of statements through social media are as of June 3, over a week after the murder of George Floyd and plenty of time for the company to release a statement.

I am telling you about all these fast food chains because they are all incredibly flawed. I see silence over social media and barely anything if they do post. You may not believe politics belongs in the food industry, but, at this point, the need for justice in America has been a long time coming. 

And though some incidents may seem “in the past,” ask yourself if there is a statute of limitations on discrimination. Especially companies with many, nonisolated racial incidents. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to be silent at this time, especially those who can donate millions to the cause. 

Furthermore, nearly a week after a blatant murder and people all around America mobilizing for donations, there has been only ONE donation from a major restaurant chain to an organization benefitting black people, Papa Murphy’s. 

Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the brands that have made statements in support, but that is not nearly enough. Of some of the largest fast food companies in the world, I expect so much more before I can even start to give praise. In short, until they speak up and put their money where their mouths are, I won’t have any respect or show any support for these companies, and neither should you.

Consider, instead supporting local black owned businesses, as described in my article here

If you would like any links, here is a link to the article with footnotes to factcheck.


In the past, workers were punished for wearing “Abolish ICE” and “Black Lives Matter” pins, though the workers were swiftly protected by the union. This same union has demanded better worker protections in the past as well. Burgerville is planning on donating 4500 cheeseburgers to frontline workers as a part of a “Burger Breaks” campaign. So far, they have remained silent about the Black Lives Matter movement.


For 15 years, from 200-2015, Jared Fogle was a major spokesperson for the company, before he was convicted as a sex offender in a scandal involving a minor. Subway has donated $1.5 million to provide 15 million meals to Feeding America in the past. Local Subways have also recently delivered 3000 sandwiches to hospital workers. Subway has posted alongside the #blackouttuesday campaign on their Instagram.


McDonald’s has had many issues in the past, including but not limited to, environmental irresponsibility, mistreatment of workers and animals, several lawsuits, a movie called “Supersize Me” exposing how unhealthy their food is, and allegations of racism when a supervisor suggested that there were “too many black people in the store.” Over the course of two decades, 1992-2012 McDonald’s has raised $227.4 million for its Ronald McDonald House Charities. McDonald’s also has a “Black & Positively Golden” movement to “uplift communities through education, empowerment and entrepreneurship.” They have not directly addressed the Black Lives Matter movement.


In the past, a major scandal occurred when two black men were racially profiled in one of their stores in Philadelphia. Starbucks has given more than $3 million to various charities and nonprofits fighting the coronavirus including the COVID-19 Response Fund and an organization that provides shelter and resources to those who are experiencing homelessness and those in need, along with a $1 million donation to the WHO and a $1 million to Give2Asia, a project that supports front line medical workers in China. Starbucks has also donated $25,000 to the New York City Police Foundation, along with other New York City organizations. In terms of the Black Lives Matter movement, they have released statements on social media and workers have created a petition.  


They have had many various food scandals in the past along with animal cruelty allegations and backlash over sexist commercials. In addition, the founder of KFC has been accused of being racist. KFC has provided 1.2 million pounds of food this year to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. They have not released any statements regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Burger King

In the past, they have had scandals of horse meat in burgers, mocking Asians and offering a lifetime supply of burgers to any woman who got pregnant from one of the players in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They have also been criticized for profiting off of mental health awareness and sexist comments about Taylor Swift. Their largest donations go to their non-profit The Have It Your Way Foundation and the Family Fund, though I found no information regarding when and how much these donations were. They posted in solidarity with the #blackouttuesday campaign along with a message on their Instagram.

Pizza Hut

They had a scandal in 2015 with their employees drawing swastikas and “KKK” on their pizza boxes. In order to help those who rely on their school for food and educational resources, Pizza Hut created the Read & Feed Program and will donate 250,000 pizzas to children in need. They have also partnered with First Book and will make $500,000 in grants to educators. They have not spoken out about the Black Lives Matter movement.


Domino’s has had many food scandals, along with several business scandals. The founder is a supporter of pro-life groups, though the company itself states that it remains neutral. They have pledged to donate 10 million slices of pizza for those who need it during the pandemic. In earlier years such as 2016, they have donated roughly $50 million to various charities. They have neglected to release any statements about the Black Lives Matter movement.


Dunkin’ has been criticized over a 2013 ad in Thailand where a model was in obvious blackface. Also from 2013, they donated $200,000 to local nonprofits in the mid-Atlantic region. They have posted a blank screen for the #blackouttuesday campaign.

Baskin Robbins

In the past, they had criticism over an ad that seemed to be sexualizing a minor. They have not had any notable donations in the past years. They also posted for #blackouttuesday on their Instagram.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell has had many food scandals throughout the years. They have also donated $5000 to Donald Trump’s campaign, a company that also owns Pizza Hut and Wendy’s. With a grant of $150,000 this year, the Taco Bell Foundation is supporting the expansion and development of Moneythink’s Award Comparison Tool. Taco Bell has also participated in the #blackouttuesday campaign on their Instagram.


In the past years, Wendy’s has been boycotted over issues of human rights. They have donated to foster care, hunger and food integrity, opportunity youth and families and vibrant communities. They have also donated over $400,000 to Trump’s reelection campaign. They have not released any statements for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Papa John’s Pizza

The founder John Schnatter had a career-ending scandal in which he used the N-word, he also blamed football players who kneeled in protest for slow pizza sales. Schnatter later donated $1 million to a historically Black college, though many criticized him, saying he was simply “trying to pay off the Black community.” Papa John’s Pizza has not spoken out about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dairy Queen 

Dairy Queen has had a racist scandal in the past, along with several other misconducts. They have raised $1.6 million through donation boxes. They have not stated anything for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Little Caesars

In the midst of the global COVID-19 outbreak, Little Caesars announced that it will donate and deliver 1 million pizzas to healthcare workers and first responders across the U.S. over the next few weeks. It will also deliver to police and fire departments, the overall total projected to be 4 million meals provided. They have not made any statements regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.


Sonic has faced criticism over a racist NFL sign one of their stores put up. Since 2009, Sonic has donated over $16.6 million to public school teachers. They have not released any statements for the Black Lives Matter movement.


There have been several scandals involving fingers in their sandwiches. They focus their donations on helping their own employees when in need and No Kid Hungry, through undisclosed amounts. They have not spoken out for the Black Lives Matter movement.


They have had health scandals in the past involving making food over a trash can. Also in the past, they have pledged to fund one million meals through Second Harvest. They have not addressed the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jimmy John’s

The CEO and founder, Jimmy John Liautaud, was exposed posing with dead elephants, a dead rhinoceros and a dead leopard he had killed. They have donated to many Republican campaigns, though also a few progressive such as Bernie Sanders. They have not released any statements regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jack in the Box

Years ago in 1993, Jack in the Box had an E. Coli outbreak that resulted in 700 sick and four dead. In 2017 they donated $400,000 to various nonprofit organizations, there was no other data for more recent years. They have neglected to release any statements about the Black Lives Matter movement.


Chick-fil-A has a long history of donating to anti-LGBTQ+ charities, totaling to around $4 million to organizations that are against “homosexual acts” and same-sex marriage. Though they released statements saying they had cut these donations, that was quickly proven false, and information about who they donate remains murky today. Furthermore, they have donated to a Ugandan organization that has murdered many members of the LGBTQ+ community. They had an unconfirmed “Back Blue Lives” scandal a while back, and they have not released any statements regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.


In the past, they have had issues over wages, food, sexual harassment, racial profiling and racial discrimination where a server ignored and neglected to seat a Black family. They have not made any significant donations recently, though from 2005-2018 they raised nearly $10 million for childhood cancer research. In 2017 they created a “Social Justice is Served” menu, including such items as the “Black Lives Platter.” They have not released any statements about the Black Lives Matter movement today, however.


Panera has donated $500,000 to the Friends in Knead non-profit organization for the COVID-19 Relief Fund. They have posted a statement acknowledging their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.


From 2015-2018, Chipotle had an infamous E. Coli outbreak, along with a manager who was terminated for refusing to make food for black customers without them paying first, though he was later offered his job back. Chipotle did a promotion in May offering a 100,000 burrito donation to healthcare workers. In 2014, several employees refused to serve officers and instead said “hands up, don’t shoot.” They have posted a #blackouttuesday blank screen to their Instagram.

Panda Express

Since 1999, their charitable foundation, Panda Cares, has raised $107 million. The founders today, Andrew and Peggy Cherng have donated $2 million to combat the Coronavirus. They have not released any statements regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.


Denny’s has had many racial problems throughout the years, starting in 1991, when Black customers were asked to prepay, continuing in 1994 when they paid $54 million in a suit when they refused to seat Black secret service members while their White counterparts were served, a 2014 LA location, another instance in 2017 forcing Black patrons to prepay and 2018 with more racial discrimination. Denny’s also donates $280,000 to families of police in Florida annually. They have not released any statements regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.


IHOP has had a few instances of insensitivity, including a tweet sparking controversy over when life begins, and a racist incident when a black customer received a receipt reading “BLACK PPL.” Over a course of 10 years from 2005-2015, IHOP raised nearly $20 million for charity, though undisclosed which charity it was for. IHOP has not spoken out about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Auntie Anne’s

The founder of Auntie Anne’s, Anne Beiler, started a movement in 2018 called “Break Your Silence,” a coalition for women to join together and overcome abuse and to live out their “ultimate purpose.” In 2011, they also donated $5.1 million to the ALSF, a childhood cancer foundation. Auntie Anne’s posted a Martin Luther King Jr quote along with a message on their Instagram.

Carl’s Jr

The founder, Carl Karcher, after creating a successful business had several insider trading scandals and issues with his board of directors, in addition to a reputation of having very openly sexual ads. In 2016, they had to pay $1.45 million in fines and restitution because they didn’t pay minimum wage for six months. Carl’s Jr raised nearly $3 million in two years for veterans and their families. They have not released any statements regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Five Guys

Over the years, Five Guys has had many scandals including an owner not wanting to provide health insurance, several harassment accusations, violations of labor laws, wage discrimination and disability discrimination. So far, they have not spoken up about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Papa Murphy’s

A white worker once called two black customers the N-word, in a video that went viral and exposed the worker. In addition, there was one isolated incident of someone getting sick from E. Coli. Papa Murphy’s recently within the past months did a donation campaign for No Kid Hungry. In addition, they posted an image for the #blackouttuesday campaign and pledged $25,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and is matching employee donations until June 7.

Krispy Kreme

In 2016 the company collaborated openly with the Salvation Army. In a prior year, an officer received an order with the words “Black Lives Matter” written on the box, the company later apologized. After the German family who owns this company, along with Panera Bread, found out about their family’s collaboration with the Nazi’s in WWII, they donated millions of dollars to an unspecified charity. They also gave out a free dozen doughnuts to 2020 graduates. They have not released a statement about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Buffalo Wild Wings

In previous years, a manager said it was “Ok to refuse Black customers.” In 2019, they asked a group to move because a customer didn’t ‘want black people sitting near him,’ the staff was later fired. By 2020, Buffalo Wild Wings donated $24 million for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. They have not spoken out about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jamba Juice

This company is associated with the Joyful Heart Foundation. The company posted a message in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and linked the petition for the Justice for George Floyd on their Instagram.


Cinnabon was involved in an insensitive Carrie Fisher tribute, the company later apologized. They have helped donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Cinnabon has posted a message in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and a link to the petition for the Justice for George Floyd on their Instagram.


On Jan. 4, 2020, contamination of food with a chemical led to four people hospitalized. Since 2009, Qdoba has donated over $115,000 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. They have not spoken out about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Del Taco

In 2018, Del Taco had a sexual harassment case in which female employees were harassed in the workplace. They have not released any statements about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Round Table 

Round Table has donated $225,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They have also donated pizzas to hospital staff on the front lines of the Coronavirus. Round Table has not made a statement about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Red Robin

In 2015, there was an allegation of racial discrimination in the workplace and in 2019, a restaurant closed after three people got E. Coli. Red Robin has donated over $1 million to the ALSF. They have not released any statements about the Black Lives Matter movement.

In this day and age, it is so important to stay informed. So please, do your own research, and if anything is factually inaccurate or needs to be updated in this article, feel free to email me ([email protected]).