The California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF), a non-profit that empowers and invests in California's restaurant workforce, is thrilled to announce that in partnership with The Habit Burger Grill, a burger-centric, fast casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, made-to-order chargrilled burgers and sandwiches, has raised over $83,000 through its annual “Make It A Habit” fundraising campaign. The 8th annual fundraiser took place at the 2018 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo held in Los Angeles and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association.
Over the past eight years, The Habit has generously donated more than 17,000 vouchers redeemable for a free Charburger with Cheese. CRAF then offers the vouchers at their “Make It A Habit” expo booth, which is run by volunteer students and scholarship recipients, in exchange for a $5 donation with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the foundation programs. With an approximate value of $4 per burger, The Habit has donated a total of $68,000 over the campaign’s lifetime
“It’s extremely important to the entire Habit Burger system to invest in the future of the culinary industry and, having served on both the CRA and CRAF boards, I’ve seen firsthand the enrichment students receive from these programs,” says Russ Bendel, President & CEO of The Habit Restaurants, Inc. and CRAF Emeritus Board Member. “There is a critical shortage of talent in the restaurant industry that is challenging every aspect of foodservice. Taking a more active approach and supporting organizations like CRAF is one way we can help today’s youth prepare for their first jobs in the culinary profession and pursue a career in a field they’re passionate about.”
In 2018 alone, the campaign raised nearly $13,000 completely selling out of vouchers and surpassing this year’s fundraising goal. The “Make It A Habit” campaign is one of the more anticipated fundraisers at the expo with California’s culinary leaders and restauranteurs making it into a friendly competition of who will purchase the most vouchers. Many of these free burgers are typically distributed to colleagues and employees as motivational incentives and to show appreciation for their hard work.
“It’s incredible to look back over the eight years of this partnership and realize the scope of Habit Burger’s impact. They were willing to be creative and try a different type of fundraiser – and it worked. With their leadership, we’ve been able to provide job-readiness training, college access and mentorship programs to thousands of promising young people. We’re leveraging the power of restaurants like The Habit Burger Grill to change lives and create opportunity.”
The funds generated by the “Make It A Habit” campaign support many facets of CRAF offerings including the foundation’s ProStart program, a two-year culinary arts and hospitality management program. CRAF enriches ProStart programs by connecting schools with industry through field trips, guest speakers, mentoring, grants, competitions and scholarships. Currently 134 public high schools in California use this curriculum reaching more than 9,000 students.