As a business owner, you have the opportunity to do a lot of good. As a member of your community, you have a voice that all of your patrons will become accustomed to as they continue to frequent your restaurant. What you need to consider is what you want that voice to say. Taking time to become a valued member of your community through charitable programs is one of the best things a business can do. There are many reasons why it’s important, both as a community building exercise and as a promotional opportunity.
Building a better business through charitable activities
It’s a simple theory: if you want people to think of your restaurant as their go-to dining option, they need to feel connected with you. Obviously, you know you have to make good food, but you also need to be the type of company that your patrons are proud to support.
Finding a cause that matters to you and your clients helps you:
- Find new customers
- Encourage customer loyalty
- Bring back those who have stopped coming anymore
- Introduce guests to new menu items
- Highlight existing products
- Present guests with an excuse to a night out.
The important thing to remember is that while this is a good business decision, it’s also a valuable activity for the community as a whole. If you host a charity event solely to bring in business, it will be apparent to your clients. That’s why it’s important to choose a charity that matters to you, your brand, and what you want your company to be associated with as a whole. Think big picture, and give yourself a long-term goal when it comes to your charitable efforts. It shouldn’t be a one-time-only event, but instead a recurring event or series of events that prove that you’re in it for the right reasons.
Start hosting events now
First step: decide on a cause you wish to support. Consider if you intend to work with the same charity multiple times, or if you would rather cycle through many different charities. You can do either, establishing a firm bond with one specific cause, or becoming known as a generous organization without any ties. It just depends on what you prefer.
Ways to fundraise in your restaurant:
1. Host a ticketed event like a trivia night or gala.
It may seem odd to sell tickets to a restaurant, but it’s an easy way to guarantee attendance and get a base level for your donation. Just be sure you provide some special added value to the evening, making it worth the commitment of a ticket. There are a variety of different types of events that require ticket sales, and once you’ve got the customers in the door, you can add on additional fundraising options.
Trivia night: A trivia night is great because it’s easy to set up and many people already understand the general concept. There is an infinite amount of trivia out in the world, and depending on the charity you are raising money for, you can even tailor the questions to fit in with the theme.
Galas and formal events: Galas or more formal events may not have an activity like a trivia night, but it gives you the opportunity to invite the charity to present some of the things they’ve been working on and highlight the importance of the patrons’ donations.
2. Donate proceeds from a specific time, or from a specific menu.
If you are looking for a long-term event that can take place over several days or weeks, you can make a pledge to a company based on a percentage of your sales. Advertise on your social media accounts and let your clients know that if they come to your restaurant, a portion of their sales will be given to the designated charity. An event like this is great because you can outline a longer time period and draw out the success, allowing you to donate a larger amount.
You can also create a specific menu that you use for fundraising. That way, you can target items from your menu that have a clear connection to the cause, and donate money based on sales of those items. For example, say you want to raise money for a children’s charity, you can give a portion of proceeds from your kid’s menu as a donation.
3. Sponsor or donate to other events.
If you are unable to organize your own event, you can always sponsor events in your area. Whether it’s by donating gift cards as prizes for a silent auction, acting as a financial sponsor for events, or even offering your location to local charities to host events like car washes or food drives, you can always find a way to help out.
No matter how you choose to support your community, it’s always going to be a win-win. It helps your customers learn more about your company values, it builds your presence in the community, and it also raises money for a good cause. Start making charity a part of your restaurant’s business plan now.