SPB Hospitality CEO.
SPB Hospitality

"Supporting a cause is not only the right thing to do, but it also can affect the overall morale of your team," Mazany says.

3 Reasons Why Restaurants Should Support a Cause They Believe In

Cause marketing has evolved beyond being just a feel-good practice of the past.

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” At SPB Hospitality, we believe it’s our duty to make an impact in the communities we serve. That’s why we are so passionate about leveraging our resources of people, time and hospitality to benefit nonprofits on the local and national scale.

In the current business climate, team members have made it clear that they want more than just a job. They care about contributing to the overall good of society and want to work for a business that displays corporate responsibility and serves a greater purpose. According to a 2020 study conducted by Porter Novelli, 88 percent of team members believe it is no longer enough for companies to just make a profit; corporations should positively impact society, too.

As a well-recognized business strategy, cause marketing has evolved beyond being just a feel-good practice of the past. Today, it’s an integral part of doing business for every for-profit company to champion a cause, give back to communities and better society.

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Here are three reasons why restaurant brands should pick a cause they’re passionate about and rally their team to give back: 

Guests love to eat at restaurants that support their local communities.

As a parent company with hundreds of restaurants and breweries in 39 states, we’ve used our national footprint to reach millions of people daily with fundraising campaigns. Most recently, SPB Hospitality partnered with America’s largest autism research organization—Autism Speaks—for World Autism Month. Throughout April, all of our brands raised funds through guest donations. We were blown away by the engagement from our restaurant teams and guests. With their overwhelming support, we donated over $300,000 to Autism Speaks to help promote solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families, across the spectrum and throughout their lifespan.

Your team members may have a personal tie to the cause.

Many peoples’ lives are affected by various causes, and your team members may feel extremely passionate about supporting a charity. Finding people inside your four walls who are advocates of your cause is the key to getting the rest of your brand excited to support it. In 2020, the CDC reported that approximately one in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2016 data. It’s an important cause to support because autism affects many people across all ethnic and socioeconomic groups in some way.

Cause marketing campaigns have a lasting impact on brands.

Supporting a cause is not only the right thing to do, but it also can affect the overall morale of your team. Getting behind a cause can unite a team and create a culture of giving. Throughout our campaign, we were able to create awareness around autism with our team members, which led to them exhibiting a whole new level of passion for the cause. We cultivated an even more inclusive environment for our team members and guests with disabilities where all people feel comfortable and welcome. The impact we made together extended well beyond the campaign, and we are a better team because of it.

Restaurants should look more closely at their corporate responsibility and take action. Brands have the ability to use their influence to do so much more than just raise funds for an organization for a few weeks. The real power comes when your partnership affects change throughout your organization, too. Through supporting amazing charities, we have the means to make a difference in so many peoples’ lives. If we come together as an industry and use our resources to support good causes across the country, we can make a positive impact throughout the world! One team, one goal, one great restaurant at a time.

Jim Mazany is the CEO of SPB Hospitality and former president and COO of Joe’s Crab Shack, CEO of Café Enterprises, and COO of TGI Fridays.