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How to Build (and Give Back to) Your Community as a Restaurant

Restaurants arenít just establishments serving entrees and appetizers. Theyíre a community location. People donít just come to eat, they come to socialize, catch up, have fun, enjoy the ambiance of a crowd...


This is why itís crucial that you build up and give back to the community you serve, given that just about all walks of life are coming through your doors.


So What Can You Do to Build a Loyal Community and Give Back to Those in Need as a Restaurant?

Itís hard to put on paper when you think about it. But the fact is one of the biggest successes in the restaurant industry is getting your customers to come back again and again...and not just for your food, but the whole experience. You always want to go the extra mile, because the dishes you serve only go so far. They technically go as far as the table, and thatís it.


So how can you go the extra mile? By showing your community you care.


1. Be a Voice for the Hungry and Feed the Homeless

The fact is you do this every day youíre at work; youíre feeding people! Why not take it one step further and donate your food to charitable giving? Especially your unused food! You can cook meals for low-income neighborhoods, partner with food banks for your cause, and much more. Not only does this shed some of your excess inventory, but it goes where it should go; to those who deserve a meal, and shows as a reminder that you care about your community.


2. Look to Invest in Your Industry

This targets way into the future forecasting of your business, because ultimately what makes you successful are your customers and your employees. And if your employees constantly miss the mark of excellence, that hurts you indefinitely. The National Restaurant Association sees that employment numbers will continue growing to 14.4MM professionals by 2023, so thereís no stopping it...youíll have a wealth of employment to consider.


Help foster that growth. Mentor some culinary students aiming for the skies. Visit high schools. Support your industry before you even get an application for a job from a hopeful looking for employment. A couple examples of some beneficial programs include ProStart and One Chef Can 86 Hunger, along with many more.


3. Always Listen to Your Guests

Beyond their satisfaction, youíll want to get to know your guests even more than thatóthey are, in fact, the voice of the community. Youíll know more about the community you serve based on what you hear, such as a struggling economy, neighbors having to choose between buying groceries or paying heating bills. Perhaps even worse.

Once you know what the lay of the land is, youíll know how to best cater to them and let them know you care beyond what they spend for the food you provide. Set up emergency funds, in fact. Build the community up from behind the scenes. The happier your guests are with their own lives in their community, the more likely they are to even want to enjoy themselves in your establishment, so why not go the extra mile


Plus, you will get amazing publicity from carrying out acts of kindness for your customers or employees. Ever seen one of those viral videos on Facebook of a restaurant establishment who bought a struggling employee a new car? Or even just paid a poor elderly coupleís bill? That could be you...


When you think about it, itís basic business 101.


Youíre not simply making a buck, but building a foundation of a well-loved business. Which in turn will bring you success. The long-term target is being there for your customers, because you better believe that those loyal customers will certainly be there for you again and again.