It’s a good deal for a good cause. Between now and the New Year, every time someone orders Nachos Navidad at a participating Taco John’s, a portion of the proceeds will be given to charity. Which one? Well, that depends on which one of the Mexican quick-serve restaurants you visit.
“Typically restaurant chains pick one national cause to support. No matter where you live, all donations go to one place. At Taco John’s, our approach is completely different,” says Jeff Linville, CEO for Taco John’s International. “We believe the owners of local Taco John’s restaurants are in the best position to decide which charities have the greatest impact in their communities. That’s why we’re going ‘hyper-local’ and letting them decide.”
The idea of connecting the seasonal sales of Nachos Navidad to fundraising started in North Dakota. A franchisee there wanted to raise money for the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Association. It was a personal cause for him. His daughter was fighting the disease.
The North Dakota campaign was a success and the philanthropic promotion soon spread across the national chain with other franchisees selecting a wide variety of causes to support, from food banks to the American Cancer Society, animal shelters to wounded soldiers.
In 1995, Taco John’s International created TJ Gives, a program designed to connect contributions to worthy causes around the community and across the country. The chain’s hyper-local tradition of giving has collectively raised millions of dollars for hundreds of different organizations and causes.
“I’m proud of our franchisees and their passion for the local causes that matter most to their guests,” Linville says. “In many ways, it would be easier to require everyone to support one national cause … but it wouldn’t be as effective in the communities we serve.”
This year, almost 200 Taco John’s restaurants are donating to nearly 65 different causes.