On a CEO’s Politics, Food and Twitter

Upon finding out that Baja Sol’s CEO is the new chair of the Republican Party of MN, a number of folks on Twitter decided to chime in regarding supporting places based on who’s on top. The result for Baja Sol? “We’re almost to 1000 followers! Thanks everyone! Let’s Salsa!” How does the leadership of a company influence your dining choices? (Also being discussed by WCCO’s Jason DeRusha and MnSpeak)


  1. Moe

    What would people do if the local Franchise was owned by a top DFL member, while the corporate CEO was a Republican?

  2. tim

    Don’t care. If you stopped shopping or eating at places owned by republicans – you are going to have a very limited number of places to shop or eat at.

  3. Moe

    But it’s not just a normal Republican owner, he’s the chair of the party. More money in his pocket means more power. To me, that’s a big difference.

  4. brad

    As long as they don’t advertise it within their businesses, I don’t really care. The same goes for religion or any social issue such as abortion. People are very passionate in all directions about all of the above — you’re only hurting your business if you advertise these views.

  5. Jason DeRusha

    I think brad makes the relevant point. It’s not typically good business to advertise your politics. I think it’s tricky when you’re a CEO first, and then become a political guy. I just think it’s an interesting question. A lot of us are thinking more about spending our money as a way of “voting” for what we believe in.

  6. @MrChristopherL

    In the case of full-disclosure, Baja Sol is our client, and I am primarily the voice behind the Twitter account and social media accounts.
    I’d hope that politics isn’t used in such generalizations as a whole business. I saw Aaron’s comments and the comments he incited from others on Twitter. From the comments here it appears that Aaron has a personal axe to grind. I’d hope he remembers that the Baja Sol Company is full of Franchise Owners and employees that represent a huge swath of beliefs on all fronts.

    I am also very familiar with http://www.heavytable.com and have had nothing but respect for James Norton. He’s covered several clients over the past years (we represent several hospitality & restaurant clients). The partisan comments made by Aaron, have disappointed me, especially since he is connected to Heavytable.
    What if the shoe is on the other foot? What if companies were to decide where to advertise or not based on the political leanings, beliefs, or writings? What if Baja Sol and other businesses were to decide not to advertise with Heavytable? Or they decided not to advertise on Minnpost or WCCO? Based on perceived political ties or leanings? That would be equally unfair, don’t you think?

  7. Aaron Landry


    While I disagree with your “axe to grind” assumption, I appreciate your comments and the discussion. Do I personally disagree with the CEO of Baja Sol? Yes. Political intent with this post? No. I’m a lot more interested in the conversation about preferences based on leadership though… as well as the great points you’ve brought up regarding franchising and independence. Thanks again for being part of the conversation.

  8. Mag

    *sigh* Great. I love the taste of vomit in my mouth that I get when someone decides to politicize something. To date, I’ve enjoyed coming to Heavy Table to read about food related topics. And I can tolerate subtle bias because, frankly, aren’t we all a bit biased. But I think I’ll go ahead and exercise my right to not bother reading Heavy Table anymore. I can get my fill of political b.s. from other sources. sheesh

  9. Chris_

    Mag, you need to chill a bit … sheesh. HT was merely observing the Twitter activity revolving around Baja Sol and the GOP. And, it’s interesting stuff! Nothing to punish the HT about.

    That said, there’s just plain ol’ dumb comments on either “side.” Molly P seems to think “punishing” a DFL-“run” company would be “partisan” bs. But, there’s lots of right wing folks who – surprise, surprise – make good-faith arguments about abortion, etc. Doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but that’s arguably more about ideology or ethics than party. Thinking about where your product comes from (especially in food) is always good.

    ArtA seems to think this is an all-or-nothing proposition. Do I get Dominoes even though that CEO is batsh1t insane? Yes, yes I do. Does it give me pause? Yeah, yeah it does. It’s about degrees. If Arne Carlson ran Red Savoy, I’d eat there. If Stalin ran Red Savoy, not so much. It’s personal preference and a matter of personal politics, and that’s fine.

    Nearly every decision to spend is political, whether you like it or not. Thinking over the things that matter to you and defending them is a healthy debate to have. Worrying about the immediate affect on the hourly employees seems disproportionate to your individual decision. If such a decision had an impact in aggregate, then that’s the market saying, “hey i’d rather not spend a dollar for that food+politics value meal, thanks.” This is not a problem with this on either “side,” and is definitely a good thing.

  10. chris

    Chris, I agree with Mag… I hardly read HT anymore because the liberal bias just oooozes from this website like a cancer. But it’s “trendy” MN, so what else can one expect?

  11. Matt

    In my experience the “talk” about these types of boycots are long on gossip and short on follow-through. Personally I don’t care who the CEO is as long as the food and service are decent. My guess is that most consumers respond to the quality of the product that is being sold.

  12. Mag

    Chris is right. My response was an overreaction and my accusation of bias was unwarranted. Jim et. al, my apologies. My issue isn’t with the Heavy Table nor should my issue have been with the fact that this particular item was part of The Churn.

  13. Sue

    So, to follow this logic…we are supposed to read papers that only support our beliefs, watch tv that we agree with, have friends with the same opinions, follow people on Twitter that have the same opinions, and only eat at places whose management has the same politics as us. Huh. Seems like a enormous waste of time. Not to mention boring.

  14. brad

    Sue, I don’t think the intention of this topic/thread is suggesting anything other than discussion of opinions.

  15. yep

    Sue, yes this is an all-or-nothing proposition! You find out someone favors slightly less taxes on the rich, YOU STOP SHOPPING THERE NOW! It’s easier to debate when it’s black and white.

    There is absolutely no gray area in the personal choice to shop or not shop. That way we don’t need straw men! Take one’s personal choice about one particular company and extend it to allll companies–and hell, even friends and whatnot! It’s just so much easier to think of people that way.

  16. Moe

    Wait, so some people are going to stop reading the Heavy Table because of political bent, based on a post that only brings up the question of weather people shop based on politics.

    Happy 4th of July.

  17. geoff

    The Bajasol thing aside, Aaron Landry’s made it patetly clear via personal social media postings over the past year+ that he’s an avid Franken apologist and Norm hater. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

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