Cause Plus: Building Loyalty with Philanthropy

Chain Leader’s Driving Traffic research in November showed that 73 percent of restaurant chains support charitable organizations to increase customer counts. Corner Bakery Café is one of those. But it finds that philanthropic efforts also help the 115-unit Dallas-based restaurant chain engage and retain employees.

Take, for example, its participation in Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out. In 2009, guests contributed $23,000; the company matched their donation, rounded up and gave $50,000. “This was double what we raised the prior year,” says Senior Vice President of Marketing Diana Hovey, “and it’s largely due to the tremendous passion of our team.”
  
Corner Bakery Cafe staff get to know their regular customers and are happy to have a cause to share with them.
 
Hovey says Corner Bakery surveys its 3,500 employees, or “bread heads,” about once a year. They revealed that workers wanted to do more for their communities and be part of something bigger than themselves. “Any type of cause effort we do on the marketing end, they have just grabbed it and run with it,” she says.

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