It’s phrase we all know, and most of us use, when we want to describe doing something positive without charge for those who typically pay us for products and/or services. “Giving back” to customers can be nothing more than good business practices – couponing, two-for-ones, volume discounts, free shipping. Sometimes, though, when natural disasters or ongoing social problems bring human suffering to our attention, giving back can take on a whole new connotation.
The disastrous storms and tornadoes that ravaged the Deep South two weeks ago leaving millions without power and thousands without access to food supplies has been met by an outpouring of assistance by area restaurateurs. Meals have been donated, funds raised with the introduction of new menu items and store employees have contributed monies of their own. This is one of the great intangible benefits of being a hospitality industry professional, to help others fulfill their most compelling needs for sustenance and socialization. It is, however, also a moral obligation. Those who earn their living selling food – and those whose products and services make their operations possible – have to understand that every so often the needs of the afflicted in their communities must transcend financial motivations. Only by giving back when truly needed can restaurateurs and foodservice operators be considered socially responsible by existing and potential customers.
There’s another way foodservice professionals can demonstrate their commitment to helping the neediest, and that’s by raising funds for those too impoverished to afford their meals – the millions of Americans who confront hunger and malnutrition on a daily basis. It is to the lasting credit of organizations such as Share Our Strength and its corporate partners that the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry program will hold its national fundraising event from September 18 through 24 at participating restaurants in an effort to help end childhood hunger by 2015. The goal this year is to involve 5,000 and raise $3 million to support this cause. Given that there nearly 1 million restaurants and foodservices in this country, participation should exceed these numbers. We encourage all readers to click the live links in today’s news stories and found out how your business can help those who need it most.