Why T.G.I. Friday's 'Can for a Fan' Works

T.G.I. Friday's

The chain's largest franchisee expects to donate 5,000 cans to foodbanks through a virtual food drive.

Ten food banks next month will be better able to feed the hungry, thanks to T.G.I. Friday’s.

The casual dining chain’s largest franchise group, The Bistro Group, which has 31 franchised locations, is running its second Can for a Fan drive, and hopes to donate 2,000 more cans than last year.

Amie Dancu, director of marketing for The Bistro Group, speaks to Restaurant Management about the drive.

Can you describe Can for a Fan—how it works and what it entails?

It’s a virtual food drive. We donate one non-perishable item for every new Facebook fan we get. It officially launched November 1 and runs through December 31. The more community members that fan us, the more we can donate.

Our goal is to give back to the community while building our Facebook fan base of consumers we can reach back out to. This resonated very well last year—so much so that this year we are not only repeating it but we are attacking it in a more aggressive manner.

Last year we aimed to donate 3,000 cans of food and this year we’ve set it at 5,000. Instead of actually giving the banks the cans, we gave them the dollar amount because they got more food for the dollar than we can purchase.

How are you getting the word out about this?

We are talking about it in our restaurants. We have table toppers and posters. And the consumer will see something very unique in our restaurants. We have No.1 Can Fans (employees) in each of our locations. That person has been chosen to represent this and very much champion it, making sure the guests are aware and the employees are participating.

The Can Fans have a T-shirt that says No.1 Can Fan and on the back there’s a QR code and it says Scan Me. That takes the consumer on their smart phone directly to the Can for a Fan landing page so they can immediately fan us and/or forward to their friend. We’re really making a statement and showing the guest how easy it is.

More people will probably use the QR codes on the table toppers but the T-shirts are really for the noticeablity wow factor.

Why did you decide to do something to benefit food banks?

The Bistro Group’s owner, the late Ruth Conway, was very involved in supporting the food banks and would make special trips there. So it’s very near and dear to our hearts. It’s also a natural alignment for restaurants who are involved in food all day to be giving back in that manner.

What we have seen is that there are people in need and you often have no idea they are in need but they are struggling on a daily basis because they’ve lost their job and have to pay their mortgage. And, the Pittsburgh food bank recently lost some funding so that really makes us know that what we’re doing is going to make a bigger impact.



They are not the largest franchise group for TGIFriday's


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