‘Tis the Season for Heartfelt Giving
It Pays to be Generous during the Holidays
Every year the holidays arrive we are reminded that it’s time to give back. Restaurants almost always get into the holiday spirit with festive décor, promotions, and seasonal food and beverages, but many chefs and operators also choose to donate their time and money to worthy charitable causes.
“We understand that our part is not only offering guests unique dining experiences, but giving back to the communities,” says Francesco Balli, co-founder and CEO of Miami-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group. “We enlist each of our nine restaurants to select causes they’d like to support.”
Though Balli advocates yearround giving—his restaurants regularly host classes where children are taught the importance of eating a well-balanced diet—two of his establishments host food drives in November and assemble meals that are distributed to 200 needy families the week of Thanksgiving.
“I’ve heard from employees that they value being able to give back and having us support causes they believe in,” says Balli. “This, in turn, creates great employee morale and allows us to deliver a better experience to guests, which of course creates repeat business and an increase in sales.”
Chicago’s Piece Brewery and Pizza also realized they could drive business and give back. Twelve years ago, the restaurant launched what would become its annual Christmas Carol Karaoke Party on Dec. 23, a traditionally dead night in the restaurant business.
“The idea was to drive business on an otherwise slow night and give back to PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society),” says owner Bill Jacobs. They donate 10 percent of sales from the evening, along with $5 per karaoke song, to charity. The total is generally upwards of $1,000.
“The holidays remind us how much we all have and how important it is to give what we can to those who are less fortunate.”
– Annie Blake, co-owner of Death or Glory
Restaurants like Death or Glory in Delray Beach, Fla., also get into the holiday spirit, thanks to Miracle, the beloved Christmas pop-up bar that started in New York City in 2014. This holiday season (the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve), Miracle is launching at more than 100 locations worldwide.
“Miracle is an amazing network of cocktail bars across the U.S. and globally that brings together the perfect blend of kitsch and nostalgia, while emphasizing expertly crafted cocktails,” explains Annie Blake, co-owner of Death or Glory. “The holidays remind us how much we all have and how important it is to give what we can to those who are less fortunate. Not only is this an amazing opportunity to give back, it also generates tremendous sales and gets us a lot of media coverage.”
Participating restaurants’ bartenders serve a creative roster of Christmas cocktails in custom Miracle holiday glassware, which are available for purchase. Ten percent of proceeds from these keepsakes benefit charity.