Restaurant Execs: Cause Marketing, Employee Engagement Drive Bottom Line

I had a great trip to the National Restaurant Show in Chicago on Saturday. It was quick trip - in and out so I could be at New Strategies at Georgetown University on Sunday afternoon - but I had the chance to moderate a panel of speakers who were there to discuss the powerful intersection of cause marketing and employee engagement to support Share Our Strength.

The three speakers were:

  • Scott Boatwright, Senior Vice President of Operations, Arby’s
  • Eric Greenwald, President, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
  • Bill Spae, CEO, Visari LLC / Dairy Queen

All three presenters did an excellent job explaining why they were involved with Share Our Strength and how cause marketing has had a powerful - if not profound - impact on their respective businesses.

Folks, I felt prouder than ever to be a cause marketer after this session. Here are their slides and some key takeaways from each presenter.

Scott Boatwright - Arby's 

Scott Boatwright, Arby's

Scott Boatwright, Arby's

  • Arby's fundraising success is impressive. Since 2011, they've raised $15 million for Share Our Strength.
  • The "ask" at the register is critical to the success of the fundraiser. To ensure that ask, employees need to know what they are supporting and why it's important to THEM!
  • Incentives are win-win. They motivate/reward customers for giving and a key driver for new and repeat customers.
  • Arby's is committed to making their fundraisers FUN. It's a special campaign and needs to be treated as one. 

Eric Greenwald - Grimaldi's Pizzeria

Eric Greenwald, Grimaldi's Pizzeria

Eric Greenwald, Grimaldi's Pizzeria

  • Cause marketing success starts at the top. Since his initial contact with Share Our Strength, the leadership team - especially Eric - has been passionate supporters for eradicating childhood hunger.
  • Grimaldi's cause strategy is best described as "all-in." All facets of the business support the campaign. Employee videos, banners, window clings, social media, press releases, etc. are focused on one thing: raising money for Share Our Strength. 
  • Again, incentives have been a key driver for fundraising and repeat customers. 
  • You don't need hundreds or thousands of locations to have an impact. With 45 locations, Grimaldi's is having a big impact. They've raised $500,000 for Share Our Strength. It's most successful store, which has raised nearly $50,000, is also its smallest!

Bill Spae - Dairy Queen

Bill Spae, Vasari / Dairy Queen

Bill Spae, Vasari / Dairy Queen

  • It takes time to grow a successful program. Vasari raised $133,000 in 2014. Their goal in 2016 is $225,000!
  • The language you use for your program is important. Vasari saw a spike in giving when they switched from saying "dollars raised" to "meals donated."
  • Never stop learning about how to execute a better program. Each year, Vasari has crafted a better program that has improved fundraising AND business.
  • You don't have to stick with one charity. Vasari also raises money for Children's Miracle Network. You need to be sensitive to customer and employee fatigue, but both can handle more than one annual program.