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National Restaurant Association - Contributing to Communities

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Industry Impact

Contributing to Communities

America’s Restaurants: Serving More Than Meals

No wonder 80 percent of consumers agree that restaurants are good corporate citizens and 72 percent agree that operators give back to their communities. They do. In fact, 94 percent of restaurants make charitable contributions.

Whether to assist with a crisis or support a local team, boost a community project or start a charitable program of their own, America’s restaurants are there to help, contributing food, donating their time, writing checks.


The charitable giving of America’s restaurants adds up to a staggering $3 billion a year. Almost all restaurateurs, 94 percent, make charitable contributions, mostly to organizations and charities in their communities, and 70 percent make cash contributions. National chains give on a grand scale, sometimes enlisting their customers as partners in a cause, sometimes spearheading large programs through their company’s foundation.


When disaster strikes, restaurants become part of emergency relief efforts, offering food and beverages to first responders or donating cash to help those affected. We created Dine for America, a national fundraising campaign that supported the efforts of the American Red Cross after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.


Our Restaurant Neighbor Awards honor restaurateurs who have made exceptional contributions to their community. The award, created with founding partner American Express, highlights the restaurant involvement in community activities. Each year, four winners receive $5,000 to support their community efforts and a trip to Washington, D.C.


Volunteering and mentoring come naturally to restaurants. Restaurateurs’ time and effort help people who are neighbors, guests and sometimes future employees. Involving current employees in a restaurant’s volunteer activities improves their job performance and job satisfaction, and volunteering in the community enhances the restaurant’s image and reputation. Today, 80 percent of consumers agree that restaurants are good corporate citizens.

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