The Magical Powers of Giving —Making Friends With Benefits


Throughout my career and life – I have always been lucky to work with companies that believe in giving back. I have come to experience the power of cause marketing – and the mutual benefits that it brings to charities and my businesses.

Cause marketing has always been around but recently it has gained popularity in the business world. We have a lot of great companies and Oprah (my pal Stuart refers to her as Saint Oprah) to thank for showing us that by doing good for those in need we can also reap the benefits by building awareness and sales for our businesses.

If you’re a chef or restaurateur you can simply do what comes naturally – make people happy with warm hospitality and good food. Restaurant chefs and owners do their part to help out their communities by hosting charity events, donating sales proceeds, participating in multi-party fundraisers, and auctioning off gift certificates or private parties for the charities they are passionate about. The restaurant community is very focused on hunger relief, AIDS prevention/support and building better communities to live and work in.

By partnering with the right charity, a restaurant can introduce themselves to a larger audience by gaining access to the charity’s list. At the same time, the restaurant can use the news to start a conversation and build the love with their own fan base – ultimately leading to loyalty (and more business). Additionally, if any media picks up the event or promotion, the restaurant stands to benefit from the press exposure.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of this –

Chef David Burke recently celebrated National Lemonade Day at his multiple restaurants in the New York metro area by partnering with National Animal Rescue to raise money to help save animals. For the entire day, the restaurants and participating partners (including a local pet boutique) sold homemade lemonade for just $1and all the proceeds were donated to thecause.

Here on the West Coast, Hoss Zaré at Zaré at Flytrap hosted a dinner in honor of local KGO Radio Legend Gene Burns. Proceeds from the ticket sales went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The dinner was promoted extensively on KGO radio and the event was a huge hit, not only raising money for a great cause, but driving new business to the restaurant including many new guests. It was a win-win situation for all.

Lastly, I am also very proud of the work Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants do with the Kimpton Cares program. The restaurants hold an annual Red Ribbon Cocktail program in October and November. $1 of three specialty cocktails (this year’s partner is Belvedere vodka) goes to over 15 local HIV/AIDS support agencies across the country. On December 1, World AIDS Day, Kimpton hosts coast to coast parties and additional funds are raised. Last year, they raised over $75,000! For Kimpton, they do it because it’s the right thing –but the press and loyalty they build for the restaurants –are just the added benefits.

Put simply – do good, get good, feel good.

About The Author

Prior to opening Andrew Freeman & Co., a full service boutique consulting agency specializing in hospitality and restaurants in 2007, Andrew started his career working with several legendary New York venues including The Rainbow Room, The Russian Tea Room and Windows on The World. In addition to running the day to day marketing/public relations activities at these famed New York restaurants, Andrew was also responsible for the creation and management of their special events and catering departments. At all three venues, he also launched and then oversaw successful outside catering businesses. Andrew left New York in 1997 and departed for San Francisco to join Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. He spent ten years with Kimpton, launching over 40 hotels and restaurants as well as the global brand. For his first five years with the company, Andrew was first Director and then Vice President of Restaurant Sales and Marketing. In this role, he worked with the restaurant team on the creation, launch activities and marketing/public relations programs for the group’s chef driven restaurant concepts and private dining venues. He was then promoted to Vice President of Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships for both the hotel and restaurant divisions. In this role, Andrew was responsible for strategic development and execution of all public and media relations activities. During his tenure Andrew also spearheaded several programs with industry and community partners including Kimpton Cares, a social responsibility program and Kimpton Hotels LGBT travel program which has garnered numerous awards and positioned Kimpton as one of the Top Companies for LGBT employment. Andrew also contributed to the launch of Kimpton’s highly successful Women in Touch program which became the spring-board for their national partnership with Dress for Success, an organization which helps low-income women enter the workforce and excel in their new jobs. Today, Andrew Freeman & Co. is busy consulting hotel clients, Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, The Lodge at Sonoma, The River Terrace Inn, and Bay Area restaurant clients, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Barbacco, Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar, étoile at Domaine Chandon, ETO, Fifth Floor, Grand Café and Poggio. Andrew Freeman & Co. is also proud to be an intricate part of SF.Chefs.Food.Wine a food and wine event that celebrates the unique flavor, diversity and bounty of Northern California. The annual event incorporates tasting tents, classes, seminars and an array of activities while supporting local charities such as the San Francisco Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, The Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation and Project Open Hand. Andrew is honored to have also worked with JW Marriott/Marriott, Larkspur Hotels, Magnolia Bakery, Personality Hotels, the Palm Restaurant Group, and W Hotels. In 2009, Andrew Freeman & Co. launched a New York City office and is proudly serving clients including Pranna, Incentient and David Burke Restaurant Group. Andrew also works with a variety of clients on sales and service training, as well as concept development and operations refinement.

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