Restaurant Charity Ideas

Giving back through charitable donations, events, and sponsorships is a great way to deepen your local ties and attract new customers. If you're wondering how to pick a charity, ask staff members to share the causes they're passionate about and boost employee loyalty by lending your support. You can also ask your customers for charity recommendations. No matter what suggestions you receive, choose causes you as a business owner are personally passionate about, because your authentic concern will increase the event's success.

Whether you're feeling generous at your holiday feast or you want to make a positive impact year-round, we've got a few simple ways your business can give back to the community.

Charitable Event Ideas for Restaurant

Hosting an event at your restaurant can be beneficial for both you and the charity you're helping. It gives the charity a convenient location to host an event and creates exposure for your restaurant. The following are a few ideas for hosting charitable events at your restaurant.

1. Restaurant Food Drive Charity Event

volunteers packing food and drinks for charity

Hosting a food drive for a local food bank at your restaurant is a relatively easy and effective way to give back to your community. These are popular around the holidays, because people associate this time with seasonal giving.

Set aside a visible space for your collection boxes and use flyers, social media, and word-of-mouth to let customers know what you're collecting and what you're donating to. If you're looking to provide more motivation, you could offer coupons or incentives for anyone who donates.

2. Fundraisers for Local Events

One of the most effective ways to stay involved with your community is to pay close attention to the local news. By monitoring events that impact your city, you can offer to host a fundraiser at your restaurant to support those affected when the need arises. From disaster relief to raising money for after-school programs that lost their funding, catering to the needs of your community is the ideal charitable event strategy for restaurants.

3. Host a Holiday Dinner for the Hungry

During the season of giving, offer your restaurant space as a haven for those who may not have the means to cook their own holiday meal. What better way to promote your restaurant at the holidays than by feeding hungry families in your community?

If you're concerned about the price tag, reach out to other local restaurants or businesses and team up to split the costs. Instead of hosting a meal in your space, you could alternatively deliver food to local homeless shelters or churches looking to host their holiday feast.

Charity Ideas during the COVID-19 Outbreak

If your restaurant is able, there are many ways that you can donate and support your local community. Here are some ideas for how your restaurant can give back:

  • Donate unused food. Many families are out of work because of COVID-19, including many in the foodservice industry. By donating unused food or offering free or reduced-price meals, you can help those most in need.
  • Donate PPE. Offer disposable gloves, face masks, and other sanitary disposables to local hospitals and nursing homes. These disposables are in high demand, and if your business is closing temporarily, hospitals and healthcare facilities would value anything you can offer.
  • Give to restaurant relief aids. The pandemic rattled the restaurant industry. Donating money to organizations supporting the foodservice industry and employees is a great way to give back.

Restaurant Donation Campaign Ideas

If hosting an event seems too overwhelming, consider starting with donation campaigns that can build up your community. The following are a few ways you can use your restaurant to donate food and money to those in need.

1. Donate Unused Food

cardboard donation box filled with fresh produce olive oil rice and cornmeal

Don't waste food. Get involved with local or national organizations dedicated to getting food from your kitchen into the hands of families in need. This not only helps your community members, but can ease the guilt that comes with throwing away food at the end of the night.

2. Give Away a Portion of Your Profits

Commit to donating a percentage of the profits made to a charity of your choosing on a set and advertised day. Motivate customers to take part well in advance by releasing promos about your event and the charity you selected. The extra business made by publicizing your event benefits the charity and allows you to make up some profits donated.

3. Donate Gift Cards to Events

Donating gift cards to local charities, fundraisers, or organizations is a great way to gain exposure and draw customers back into your restaurant.

When donating gift cards, consider implementing the following restrictions beforehand:

  • Designate clear blackout dates on the card
  • Decide if they can purchase alcohol
  • State whether gift cards can cover service charges or tips
  • Pick an expiration date

4. Offer Military Discounts

While it's not a donation, offering military discounts is worth a minor loss in profits. This simple gesture lets military members and their families know we appreciate their service. This usually creates a lasting impression and translates to repeat business.

Offer a steady discount, such as 10% off daily, or designate a day each week for special deals and prices. Supporting the troops in your neighborhood is a great way to give back, and let customers know you care about our military, which most will appreciate.

Even if you've never hosted a charity event in your restaurant before, the holiday season is a great time to start. The benefits of giving back to the community are so much more than a tax write-off. When you incorporate these ideas, customers and staff members will notice and appreciate what you're doing to help others. It will encourage brand loyalty and fixate your business as a pillar within your community.

Posted in: Advertising & Marketing|Management & Operation|By Rachel Jenkins
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