In any year, the holidays are a time to give back, but this year, it feels more important than ever as food insecurity has risen across the country. And despite the struggles they’ve faced as an industry, restaurants are once again showing their generosity and deep ties to their communities to help others in need this season, as many have been doing all year long. Let’s take a closer look at how some restaurants have been giving back this year and at the power of successful charity partnerships.

Jersey Mike’s Long-Term Relationship 

Jersey Mike’s has found a long-term charity partner in Feeding America, and their efforts together this year have made a real impact. They teamed up this past spring to raise $2 million dollars and helped to provide 20 million meals to those in need. Most recently, the restaurant chain donated 20% of its sales the weekend before Thanksgiving to the organization. For Jersey Mike’s, giving back is in its DNA. Caroline Jones, senior vice president of Jersey Mike’s Franchise System, says that making a difference is central to the brand, and they’ve seen franchisees choose to be involved with Jersey Mike’s to become part of this culture. “[Giving back] has helped us grow our brand.”

Chipotle’s Perfect Match 

Chipotle is another restaurant chain committed to helping others this season through a charity partnership that fits especially well with its operations model. It’s teaming up with The Farmlink Project, an organization that connects farms with food banks to feed those in need and fundraises externally to collect surplus produce from farms and suppliers to deliver fresh food to communities in need. Chipotle aims to donate 10 million meals to food banks by encouraging guests to round up their check to the next highest dollar amount and by engaging its supply network to donate excess crops.

Finding the Right Charity for Your Restaurant

Considering a charity partnership for your restaurant this season? Aligning your restaurant with a reputable charity can have innumerable benefits, not just for those you’re directly impacting. Customers can feel good about knowing they’re helping others by choosing your restaurant over others. Charitable work is also a great way to keep your employees engaged and invested, uniting them in their efforts to support a greater cause. And while contributions to organizations should always be done for the right reasons, your restaurant can reap tax benefits from such a partnership as well. 

Just make sure your charity of choice aligns with causes important to you, your employees and your customers. When a cause resonates with your community, you might be surprised just how much good you can do and how much you can help, especially in a year when people need it most. 

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