Full-service chains are expanding healthy menus and promoting active lifestyles.
When Carolina Ale House assembled its philanthropic mission years ago, the goal of promoting active, healthy lifestyles was near the top of its list.
“As we see it, health is wealth,” says Mindy Stroupe, corporate communications manager for the 25-unit Carolina Ale House enterprise.
While the North Carolina-based chain has long been supporting youth and adult athletic leagues through sponsorships, the company has crafted relationships with local cycling clubs over the last three years to further advance its mission.
For instance, the Raleigh, North Carolina–based Team Spoke Cycles uses Carolina Ale House as its home base for meetings and social events, including its annual Velo4Yellow fundraising event. About 500 riders gather at Carolina Ale House’s location in Wake Forest, North Carolina, for the annual charity ride featuring 30-, 60-, and 100-mile routes. Carolina Ale House markets the event with in-store posters and banners and also provides hospitality for the event. Meanwhile, Team On Draft, another North Carolina cycling club, meets for all of its weekly rides at a Carolina Ale House in Raleigh.
“It’s a natural fit to get involved with these clubs since they are our customers and because promoting active lifestyles is such an important piece of what we want to do on the philanthropic side,” Stroupe says.
Another North Carolina–based enterprise, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, also gets in the community fitness game. For more than a decade, Brixx has been the headline sponsor of the Hit the Brixx road race. The annual event, which ends at Brixx’s uptown Charlotte location, attracted nearly 1,700 participants last September.
Two of Brixx’s Charlotte locations are also a part of the Bicycle Benefits program, an emerging national initiative that rewards cyclists’ physical activity with discounts at local businesses. Patrons who ride their bikes to the participating Brixx locations and display the Bicycle Benefits sticker on their helmets receive a free pizza with the purchase of another pizza.
“We think the world is better off with more bikes and fewer cars, and we appreciate how this initiative encourages people to get out on their bikes,” Brixx founding partner Jeff Van Dyke says.
While Van Dyke acknowledges these initiatives do not generate any significant, direct financial benefit, he says that appealing to people who lead active lifestyles aligns nicely with Brixx’s brand positioning as a high-quality dining alternative.