Restaurant Briefing: The Gift That Keeps on Giving – Restaurants and Charity
Corporate social responsibility has become a hot issue in recent years, and restaurants are no exception. The most fundamental—and visible—aspect of corporate social responsibility is charitable involvement. Forty-three percent of consumers say it is very or somewhat important to them that the restaurants they visit support charities and the community. Agreement that charitable involvement is important is higher among women, and also seems to have risen more in the past two years among women than among men.
Charitable giving might be a “nice to have” feature, but can it help the bottom line? Apparently so. More than half of consumers under the age of 49 (Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z) say they would visit a restaurant more often if they knew it was involved with a cause. More than a third of Boomers and a quarter of seniors feel the same way.
Half of consumers also say they would be willing to pay more at restaurants that support charities. Women are more likely to assert that they would pay more.
However, restaurants may suffer at least a moderate negative effect for supporting a cause that their patrons don’t believe in.
THE MOST POPULAR CAUSE: ANTI-HUNGER
When consumers were asked about the causes they would like to see supported by restaurants, anti-hunger organizations topped the list, followed by non-food assistance to the poor. Compared to consumers who were polled in 2012, respondents showed more enthusiastic support for these two causes.
STRUCTURING CAUSE MARKETING
The ways in which restaurants can participate in cause marketing are vast. Consumers are most likely to say they prefer restaurants to give ongoing backing to a cause with which the establishment is identified. Ad-hoc support of worthy causes (such as disaster relief or fundraising for a local school band’s big trip) is of less interest—and of less interest now than it was two years ago, soon after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
About half of consumers would like to get directly involved in the restaurant’s fundraising, while the other half are content just to patronize an establishment that they know is helping a good cause.
Consumers who expressed interest in helping out with restaurants’ charitable causes were asked about some ways that establishments could give them the chance to do so. The majority prefer a simple, easy-to-understand system: the restaurant donates to the cause a percentage of total sales.
Bottom line: Restaurant patrons are increasingly demanding that the establishments they patronize share their values and put genuine effort into making the world or the community a better place. Knowing what their customers expect will help restaurateurs choose both a popular cause and a way to help out that will resonate with their guests.
Source: Technomic, Inc.