With the holidays just around the corner, giving back is great way to build a positive relationship with not just your customers, but your community. If you’re not doing so already, it is important to join the 94% of restaurants that are making charitable contributions. Teaming up with local organizations is a great way to get employees and guests involved; additionally more and more people love to support businesses that give back to their community. Whether it’s asking customers to donate, hosting a benefit drive or donating food or money to a local charity, it’s always important to give back to the community that supports your business. Here are some ways you can give back this season:
- Accept donations or host a benefit drive. Many restaurants collect donations for a specific charity like the Freestore Foodbank or Toys for Tots around the holidays. Not only can you make an impact by giving to charity, but also you draw customers in by providing a location to drop off donations. When figuring out which charity to associate your restaurant with, consider QSR Magazine’s “Road to Relevance”.
- Give a portion of sales to a charity. City BBQ likes to get their community involved by inviting non-profit organizations to pick a day to invite friends and family to a City BBQ location. City BBQ then donates 25% of those sales to the local charity. You could also host your own day and poll your customers to find which charities they support and ensure your selection resonates with them. As a leader in the food industry, you may also consider donating to anti-hunger initiatives and programs that address food waste as they are both logical fits for the restaurant industry. According to NRA, nearly one in five children in America lives in households that struggle to put food on the table
- Host a special meal for those who need it most. Your regular diners are important, but so are the people in your community who can’t afford to frequent your establishment. Last year, Primo Hoagies in Philadelphia closed for business to welcome any and all veterans and their families, serving free turkey dinners. Manayunk Brewing Co. is another establishment that provided free meals around Thanksgiving, creating 250 complete meal baskets that each fed a family of four.
- Sponsor an event. There are always community functions like sporting events, festivals, school rallies, recitals and more happening in the community that can benefit from your help. By sponsoring an event and having a presence, you can promote your business, give attendees a taste of your food, get to know your community and build a positive reputation. According to BJ’s Restaurants Foundation president Rob DeLiema, “We’re successful because of our guests and if we support an event, and someone is trying to decide where to go to dinner next, it makes the decision easier.’”
- Adopt a family. One way to rally employees around a good cause and to get involved in giving is to adopt a family through the Salvation Army. Through this program, your business is paired with a family in need who can’t afford gifts for their children. It’s your business’s job to purchase holiday gifts and other goods and wrap them for their family. Not only does it leave your team feeling fulfilled, it brings everyone together to collaborate and spend time outside of work around the holidays.
- Volunteer. This is something you can do year-round with your team. There are a number of causes you can support with your time and talents from volunteering at animal rescue organizations to cooking at homeless shelters. According to NRA, “involving employees in a restaurant’s volunteer activities improves their job performance and job satisfaction, and volunteering in the community enhances the restaurant’s image and reputation.”
There are endless opportunities to get involved and give back to your community this holiday season. Not only will you feel better as a leader in your community by becoming more involved, but it’s also an excellent way to raise awareness of your brand while becoming engrained in local culture through developing relationships with your customers beyond the dining table.