Restaurants demonstrate an unwavering commitment to their communities in good times and bad. Perhaps no other industry has deeper community roots. In large and small communities, people turn to restaurants each day for sustenance, support and socialization – and restaurants give back to their communities, improving the quality of life for all they serve.
With nine in 10 restaurants involved in community service, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation works to raise awareness of the many philanthropic efforts taking place in the restaurant industry across America.
Each year, a small business, a mid-size restaurant company and a large/national chain each receive $10,000 to support a favorite charity or community project, and winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to receive their award during a gala awards dinner.
2016 Restaurant Neighbor Award Recipients
The 2016 recipients of the Restaurant Neighbor awards have made a tremendous impact on their local communities.
Carr’s Restaurants have been a community pillar in rural Mayfield, Ky. for more than 60 years. Since the steakhouse’s inception six years ago, employees have worked to help their neighbors and better their community by organizing numerous events. Fundraising efforts, which raised roughly $50,000, have allowed children in their community’s school district to enroll in youth sports. Their pinnacle event last year was raising funds to keep the local movie theater alive. They served a free meal to the community in exchange for donations to the movie theater and raised thousands of dollars to keep the establishment in business.
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Gregg’s Restaurants & Pubs
East Greenwich, Rhode Island
For the past 20 years, Gregg’s Restaurants & Pubs have worked with non-profit groups to support families, the homeless, the forgotten and the elderly. Through an annual event called the Giving Tree, employees, customers, friends, family and vendors have distributed more than 325,000 Christmas gifts to those in need in the community over the past two decades. Other charitable initiatives include Gregg’s Giving Cake, which donates a portion of cake proceeds to Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Cake for the Cure, which supports the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation; and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank which Gregg’s has supported through monetary donations for the past seven years.
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For more than 10 years, Firehouse Subs has played a role in fundraising to increase the safety of communities in 44 states and Puerto Rico. In 2005, they established Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and have granted more than $17 million to 1,250 fire, police, EMS and public safety organizations in over 1,000 communities. The programs supported by the Foundation provide life-saving equipment, prevention and safety education, public safety scholarships, military support and disaster relief.
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President, Darden Specialty Restaurant Group
Harald Herrmann opened the flagship Yard House in 1996, years after he launched his restaurant industry career as a part-time dishwasher during high school. Feeling a need to give back to the community, Herrmann began his largest philanthropic initiative, Round It Up America, in 2009. The program enables guests to round up their check total, donating the extra change to a charity of the participating restaurant’s choice. Yard House alone has raised more than two million dollars through Round It Up America and approximately $3.2 million has been raised in total since 2009.
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Read About 2016 State Winners
Read About Past Winners