Before Lyndsey Patel began her tenure scaling restaurant brands like Sonic Drive-In, Raising Cane’s, and, most recently, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company, she served as a campaign assistant for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The experience has stayed with her.

After the cancer diagnosis of a friend’s young daughter in 2022, she ran her first Woman of the Year campaign, working in the quick-service space to rally support in the form of fundraising and educational outreach. This year, following the passing of her closest friend’s father, Patel has decided to come back and contribute as an All-Star candidate and Visionary of the Year for LLS in the St. Louis, Missouri, market.

LLS supported therapies not only treat blood cancer patients, but other targeted immunotherapies as well. Funding toward these efforts help those with rare forms of stomach and skin, lung, brain, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.

Patel’s campaign has four weeks left to raise as much money as possible toward a $50,000 research grant in her friend’s father’s memory. She’s collaborating with Raising Cane’s, Shake Shack, Dancing Goats, and Kaldi’s Coffee through targeted activations. 

On May 20, guests visiting Raising Cane’s in the Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago markets can mention the fundraiser when they dine in or drive thru. Fifteen percent of all sales will contribute to the fund. Moreover, on June 5, all Shake Shack restaurants will donate 25 percent of sales for those who mention Patel or LLS.

All Kaldi’s Coffee and Dancing Goats locations in St. Louis and Atlanta will also have a “round up day” on register sales for customers to donate. Tricia Zimmer, co-owner at Kaldi’s Coffee, views these initiatives as vital to the brand’s DNA.

“The impact cafes have as a whole across the communities they serve is pretty inspiring when you think about it. The world is always changing, but people from all walks of life are always going to come in and have a cup of coffee,” Zimmer says. “It’s so powerful when we go beyond providing great coffee. We’re always thinking about our community and leadership and ways to help customers thrive.”

When building a gameplan to make an impact, Zimmer says Kaldi’s Coffee follows three guideposts: health, wellness, and education.

Zimmer finds additional benefits in supporting not just her customers, but also her inner community of employees. When Patel approached her with the opportunity to participate in the fundraiser, Zimmer fed off her passion.

To her, this is the ideal strategy to create a team-oriented atmosphere inside cafes. It becomes more than the daily work they do—it transforms into culture that ultimately positively impacts the customer.

“Why wouldn’t we support it? It’s touched her life, and it’s something we’re already doing as a brand. The more energy we can put towards it, the bigger difference we can make, and the reality is that we’re here to serve people and make their day a little bit better. That’s always been our role [as a brand], and we’ll carry this mindset forward as we move into new markets and communities.”

In May and June, customers can visit Raising Cane’s, Shake Shack, Dancing Goats, or Kaldi’s Coffee to participate in the fundraiser. Alternatively, they can donate directly on Patel’s fundraising page. All donations, sponsorships, or company matches are tax-deductible.

Charitable Giving, Story