Every September, restaurant brands big and small rally to support Share Our Strength’s “Dine Out for No Kid Hungry” campaign, raising funds to support the nonprofit’s effort to eradicate childhood hunger. This year, the campaign drew more support from the quick-service segment than ever.
Each year, the Dine Out campaign aims to raise about $10 million in funds. This September, the nonprofit’s largest quick-serve partner, Arby’s, raised $3.4 million. “The amount of enthusiasm that went into this from the brands was remarkable and they performed well beyond expectation,” says Jennifer Kaleba, senior manager of communications for Share Our Strength.
A Texas-based Dairy Queen franchise, the brand’s second largest franchise, raised $130,300 across 74 locations in its second year as a partner. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, also on board for its second year, raised $133,000. Sometimes, single units of larger franchised brands participate, drumming up local excitement, Kaleba says. One Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant raised $24,000 for No Kid Hungry.
“The Dine Out process is a very turnkey program,” Kaleba says. “We put together a best practices guide so they can make it as turnkey as they like. The restaurants that do the best with this are the ones that take those turnkey ideas and run with them based on what they know their customers love.”
One of the most popular ways for foodservice brands to ramp up fundraising is to offer bounce-back coupons or coupon books for donations, Kaleba says. For smaller participants, Share Our Strength offers pre-made posters and other POP materials that brands can easily add their logo to and promote the cause.
“At the end of the day, it’s not really the marketing dollar you put being it—it’s the people,” Kaleba says. “It’s the employees and the passion they show at the register; it’s educating the employee that one in five kids are struggling with hunger.”
When joining the Dine Out campaign, there’s no minimum or goal amount restaurants must meet, and they’re “in it for as much they think their restaurant can donate,” she says.
Next September, Share Our Strength hopes to have more quick-serve brands involved—but those interested in the cause don’t have to wait for that to make a difference. “There are many opportunities to get involved throughout the year and it comes down to what’s best for that restaurant,” Kaleba says.
During spring, Share Our Strength promotes fundraising efforts through bake sales, and during summer, the nonprofit focuses on serving kids who are eligible for free and reduced lunches during the school year but lose access to those meals when school is not in session. Arby’s, for example, is heavily involved in the summertime meal program.
“The industry itself is seeing a push from consumers to be more involved locally in their communities. The idea of what No Kid Hungry does is connecting our resources into communities, so these brands can help nationally and locally,” Kaleba says. “We truly believe the restaurant industry is going to lead the way in ending childhood hunger because they feed people for a living.”
By Tamara Omazic