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Restaurant owners are not strangers to charitable contributions. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, charitable restaurants contribute over $3 billion each year to charity.

Certainly you’re among a wealth of charitable people within your industry, but are you part of that giving spirit? Have you taken part in charitable events, or helped sponsor them in the past? Do you recognize the positive attributes of charity, and do you want to involve your business in them more frequently?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, keep reading because we have information on restaurants like you that engage in charity, and reasons why you should too.

Restaurants’ good deeds are good for business

Flatbread Pizza includes charity in its company ethos. They believe in giving back to the communities they serve, through direct giving and charity events. “We’re constantly looking for people who have non-profits,” owner Jim Harrison told Providence Monthly. “They can get an application online or in the restaurant. [Currently] we’ve got them booked up into March. Farm Fresh Rhode Island is coming in, and the Providence Library, and the Rhode Island Bike Coalition.” Every Tuesday night they donate $3.50 of every large pizza sold from 5-9pm to a different non-profit.

King Elder’s Pub in Damariscotta, Maine has gone above and beyond for its neighbors by creating the Lincoln County Community Energy fund. This initiative  helps people pay for their energy bills in emergency situations during the cold winter months.

The Cohn Restaurant Group, with 19 restaurants in the San Diego area and Maui, is also philanthropic in its community. The restaurant group provides contact information for those who wish to make a donation request. The group also provides fundraising opportunities like Corvette Diner’s FUN-raise and Vintana Wine + Dine’s Money Making Mondays.

These events are open to non-profit organizations and share in the fundraising process by donating 15% of all food and beverage sales generated by the organization on a given night and time frame. The non-profit organizations participate by promoting the event and passing out fliers. In order for the donations to be collected and distributed properly, the restaurant guests must present the flyer at the event. This type of event is a win-win for everyone; the restaurant gets business and is seen as a community leader, and the non-profit raises money.

Helping the community

Some restaurants give to the community by providing pay-what-you-want options. Panera Bread’s Panera Cares Community Cafes and Jon Bon Jovi’s The Soul Kitchen are two examples of pay-what-you-want restaurants. These restaurants truly support the community by helping the hungry stay fed. These establishments are financially successful, and of course, even more successful morally.

How to become involved in charitable events

Look to your community – What changes do you want to see in your community? If you aren’t sure, ask your customers for their insight. They may have ideas for causes you can support, including specific events. If this method doesn’t work for finding charitable events, try inquiring at your local Chamber of Commerce. They may have some ideas of businesses running events for charity.

Develop your own charitable events – Partnering with causes or non-profits for dining fundraisers at your restaurant or bar is a big help. Finding a venue to hold a charity event is difficult, so the associated organizations will be grateful for the location. Beyond all the good you’re doing by offering the location, guests visiting because of the charity may be exposed to your establishment for the first time.

Donate to local food banks – If you still want to help those less fortunate, but can’t also find charitable events to be part of, or you don’t have the ability to create your own events, you could still donate food to local food banks. You can find a food bank in your area by visiting the website for Feeding America.

Restaurants that do good are respected among the community, and by the employees that work there. When restaurants engage in charity, they aren’t just doing good for others; they are also helping themselves. Communities like to support restaurants that support the community. It creates a cycle of reciprocity, and it’s often talked about by locals and media members.

Do you currently participate in charitable events? Please share your story with us and the community.

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