Restaurants have been leaders in serving their respective communities through philanthropic efforts for quite some time. The restaurant industry gives over $3 billion in resources every year, and over 90% of American restaurant operators donate to charity regularly. Roughly three out of four restaurant owners contribute to local and national hunger relief programs as well.

When restaurants do good for their communities, their investment pays off immensely. They garner a reputation among both their employees and their communities as a business that cares about more than the bottom line. Giving restaurants attract attention to their establishments as people learn about them and associate them with charitable efforts.

Your restaurant can help meet the needs of individuals and organizations on a local, state, national, or global level. Are you searching for new ways to engage with your community? Here are a few great examples of how to contribute wherever you may reside.

Embrace a Cause

A community program that is meaningful to you and your staff will likely have a greater impact, as you will have a deeper emotional connection, thus putting more effort into it. Florida-based Firehouse Subs has raised over $17 million to increase public safety in over 40 states and Puerto Rico. The chain has dispersed these funds to fire, EMS, law enforcement, and public safety organizations.

Host an Event

The holiday season — the season of giving — is an ideal time to rally support for a charitable cause. For decades, Rhode Island-based Gregg’s Restaurants & Pubs has joined with philanthropic groups to host a yearly event called The Giving Tree. Over 300,000 Christmas gifts have been distributed to residents in need throughout the community via this program.

Donate Leftovers

Do good with your surplus food and help alleviate hunger in your neighborhood. If you do not normally have a substantial amount of leftover food, consider using your purchasing power to acquire extra food at wholesale prices. Passport Pizza, based in Michigan, has been a hub for eateries, vendors, and retail grocery stores to distribute leftover food, which is then forwarded to shelters, soup kitchens, and other non-profits in their community.

Invest in Youth

Giving someone a meal feeds them once; teaching them cooking skills can help them feed themselves and others for a lifetime. Obviously, a paraphrase of an ancient proverb. Nonetheless, providing apprenticeship opportunities for young people could also enable to raise up another generation of faithful employees. The California-based Cohn Restaurant Group’s Garfield High School Foundation has graduated over 2,000 at-risk teenage students. The students have run the foundation’s yearly Thanksgiving benefit luncheon which has raised over $300,000 over the past 18 years.

Restaurant owners all over the country have realized the immense value of supporting the communities that support their establishments. Doing good is a significant part of good business. Your generosity builds a circle of giving that continuously benefits your restaurant, employees, customers, and community.