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.