4 Ways Restaurants Can Give Back During the Holidays
Posted on December 10, 2010
The holidays are about more than just receiving gifts or trying to bring more customers in the door. The holiday season is also about giving. Regardless of whether or not your restaurant is involved in charitable events throughout the year, every restaurant should participate in some sort of charity during the holiday season to show customers and the community at large that you care. Here are four ways restaurants can be more charitable during the holidays:
- Ask customers to donate to a charity. Rather than having a loose change dish whose proceeds go to a charity, when customers pay, servers and cashiers can ask if they want to donate a dollar (or more) to a local charity or homeless shelter. With their donation, you can have customers write their names on a paper snowflake, or other seasonal decoration, to be hung around the restaurant. This has a threefold benefit. First: a charity receives more funding. Second: the hanging snowflakes encourage other customers to donate. Third: the snowflakes add to your holiday decor.
- Host a benefit drive. Canned food drives, toys-for-tots, clothing drives, or any other type of benefit drive is extremely popular during the holidays, because this is the time of year people are most charitable. Turning your restaurant into a pickup point for benefit drives makes sense because restaurants usually have plenty of parking, they are easy to get to from the surrounding neighborhoods and most restaurants are seen as hubs of the community.
- Adopt a family. One way to get employees involved in giving is to adopt a family through the Salvation Army. Through the adopt-a-family program, businesses or individuals who want to give are paired with a family that is hard-pressed and cannot afford gifts for their children. The donors go out and buy holiday gifts for that family. Restaurants can ask employees (and maybe even customers) to donate to the family, and the employees can also go out and buy gifts, wrap them and present them to the family. This is something we did at FSW last year, and everybody who participated felt a great sense of fulfillment, having helped provide for a family who was down on their luck.
- Donate to a homeless shelter. Restaurants that are setup for catering, have insulated food carriers or are otherwise able to transport prepared food safely can donate some menu items to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen to help put a warm meal in the stomachs of people who are down on their luck. Restaurant managers can also encourage employees to volunteer their time at a soup kitchen. Since your employees work in food service, it shouldn’t be too difficult a task for them to spend a couple of hours serving those in need.
As I mentioned before, the holiday season is when people are at the most charitable, so this is a good time of the year for restaurants to host charitable events. Sure, there are marketing benefits to showing how much you care, but the real benefit is in bringing some holiday cheer to people in need.