Restaurant Musings: How Restaurants are Giving Back
December 15, 2020
In 2020, diners rallied behind restaurants. Now they’re giving back.
As 2020 comes to a monumental close, restaurants aren’t far from where they were in March — indoor dining restrictions, takeout & to-go operations and barebones staffing. Despite the struggles, community leaders and diners alike continue to rally behind restaurants like never before— purchasing holiday gift cards, ordering more takeout from their favorite restaurants, directly contributing to GoFundMe campaigns, adding small donations on each order they placed and tipping a little more when they can. Even before COVID-19, restaurants took on the role of community leaders. Despite their current hardships, many restaurants continue to pay it back. Here are a few ways that restaurants are giving back to the communities that have supported them — a selfless exercise in hospitality.
The Migrant Kitchen | Buy a Meal, Give a Meal
What began as a catering company whose purpose was to provide meaningful opportunities for immigrants and citizens alike and providing meals for friends and family, has expanded to serving over 10,000 restaurant-quality meals a day. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Migrant Kitchen has partnered with organizations such as World Central Kitchen and NYC’s GetFoodNYC Program. 1.9 million New Yorkers do not know where their next meal is coming from and at their new ongoing popup, with each meal purchased, a meal will be donated to a hungry fellow New Yorker. Donate now or order online to help support their mission.
Black Shoe Hospitality | Community Support
Black Shoe Hospitality consists of three restaurants in the Milwaukee area: Blue’s Egg, Maxie’s and Story Hill BKC. A proud member of their community, the hospitality group gives back through several initiatives: Egg Plate Charity of the Month, which helps raise funds for diverse local charity groups and causes, Maxie’s Derby Day Party for Hunger Relief which raises funds for the Hunger Task Force, Inc. on the first Saturday in May and their direct gift card donations, which supports over 200 charitable organizations — raising $15,244 to date. A dedication to the diversification of their staff and where their food is sourced contributes to a more inclusive and stronger restaurant landscape in the Milwaukee area.
Birchwood Cafe | Community CSA Program
Birchwood Cafe offers “Birchwood Community Support Restaurant Shares” through their website. Guests can become a member of the CSA model and connect farmers and eaters through a mutual commitment to sustainability. They offer three levels of commitment and with each investment, a corresponding gift card is given to the purchaser at a higher amount than the investment. Investors help farmers plan ahead of the growing months and members collectively share the harvest’s bounty. Residents of Milwaukee can take part by visiting their website. Their CSA program equally makes a great gift for the holiday season.
The Emporium | Dinner Donations
The Emporium, part of Sage Hospitality Group, is an American brasserie located in Fort Collins, CO and with their dedication to giving back to their community, they’ve partnered with a local organization called The Family Center/La Familia. Each Sunday they donate 35 dinners to Northern Colorado families in need. Guests can directly donate by visiting their location and adding it to their bill. $12 provides a full meal for a family in need.
Saxby’s | Social Impact
At the heart of Saxby’s core mission is to be a social impact company driven by hospitality and fueled by food and drink. Their mission and community outreach efforts begin with education and opportunity. Through ongoing partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Philadelphia Youth Network, Covenant House and JEVS Human Services, Saxby’s is committed to fostering an educational environment that trains staff to become “more marketable, socially conscious, and entrepreneurial change-makers who will go on to become leaders in Philadelphia and beyond.” Alongside these efforts, Saxby’s has helped create $85,000 in scholarship and fellowship funds for students. Those seeking philanthropic requests can learn more and get in touch by visiting their website.
MyBurger | Fundraising Partnerships
Sometimes, the simplest way to give back is by eating for a cause. MyBurger, a fast-service concept with locations throughout Minneapolis, MN, serves up some of the best burgers in the area. Interested parties can host a charity or fundraiser event at select MyBurger locations from Sunday through Thursday — 4 pm to close. MyBurger will donate a percentage of all sales generated by the event to the charity and will even provide the information and marketing tools needed to make it a great success. They make it simple to inquire by filling out a form directly on their website.
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Virtue | First Responders Support Fund
Chicago’s beloved restaurant, Virtue, goes beyond impeccable cuisine enclosed by four walls. After reaching their initial goal of $39,000 to pay their team during the onslaught of COVID-19 shutdowns, they’ve refocused their efforts on raising money to support Chicago’s first responders. The funds go directly to the product, production and distribution of meals for the city’s healthcare workers. Guests can visit their website, which links directly to their GoFundMe "Virtue First Responder Support Fund" page.
Young Joni | Nonprofit Gift Card Donations
Recognizing their position and part in the vibrant and engaged Minneapolis community, Young Joni returns the support to nonprofit organizations by donating gift cards for silent auctions and various other fundraising efforts. They focus their contributions on neighborhood, education, social service, animal welfare and arts organizations, donating once per calendar year to a specific organization. Interested parties can learn more on their website and get in touch by email.
Firehook Bakery | Daily Bread Donations
Part of giving back to the community is as simple as donating a loaf of bread. Firehook Bakery in the Washington D.C. area makes daily bread donations to support those in need. In an effort to increase access to charities they support, they list and link to local nonprofit organization partners where guests can directly donate. Partners include Food for Others, Food Not Bombs, Our Daily Bread and various local community and family shelters.
These restaurants are just a few examples of how restaurants are giving back to their respected communities. Through their efforts, communities will endure these unprecedented times. To learn more about ways to support restaurants, visit saverestaurants.com and be sure to sign the letter to senators urging them to pass immediate restaurant relief now.
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