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Restaurant people are hospitality people — service people. So having a philanthropic angle — big or small — makes plenty of sense. For measure, there has been a lot of research released lately that supports the benefits of having a cause-related marketing program in place.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 52 percent of adults said they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on how much the establishment supports charitable activities.
According to the 2011 MSLGroup Social Purpose Index, in 2011, 37 percent of respondents said they purchased a product associated with a cause and 75 percent said they purchased from a brand because it supported a cause. Sixty-one percent (61 percent) will try a new brand if it is associated with a cause.
Such efforts can also directly enhance sponsor sales, help a company's public image, differentiate a company from its competition, build employee morale and heighten customer loyalty (according to consulting group Alden Keene and Associates).
Oftentimes, however, time and budget constraints become roadblocks. While supporting causes and charities and communities is a great idea on paper, how does a busy restaurant operator even begin to find the time and resources to execute such an effort?
I recently had the opportunity to gain insight from Rich Hope, chief marketing officer for Jersey Mike's, about his company's successful cause-related marketing campaigns. That company is a great source for this topic – its 2012 Month of Giving campaign raised nearly $858,000 for 74 different charities nationwide. This year, the brand is aiming to top that.
Hope was kind enough to share some tips for operators wanting to develop some type of charitable program. They include:
Hope adds that these motivational efforts boost employee morale, especially among Millennial-aged employees. When an employee buys into a company's higher purpose, he said, job performance, energy levels and customer satisfaction all increase.
"These connections have undoubtedly helped Jersey Mike's build a bond within our local communities, winning a passionate following," Hope said, adding one final piece of advice: "The important thing to remember is that each effort must be authentic and reflect your brand."
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