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Restaurant Neighbor Award

Celebrating Community Service And Philanthropy

2020 Winners were announced at the Restaurant Industry Awards Gala on March 4 in Washington, DC

Read press announcement here

With nine in 10 restaurants actively involved in community service, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and American Express are honored each year to salute the best of the best with the Restaurant Neighbor Award. This year, we celebrate a small business, a mid-size restaurant company and a large, national chain by presenting each with $10,000 to support a favorite charity or community project. Judges evaluate the winners on overall philanthropic impact and the duration of their involvement, innovation and level of support.

2020 Awardee Profiles

Photo of Tropical Smoothie Cafe at Camp Sunshine

Large Business Winner

Taco Bell Foundation
Locations Nationwide 

Taco Bell Foundation is this year’s national chain winner for its work supporting education through the Live Mas Scholarship program. In three years, they have awarded $10.6 million in scholarships to 893 students and $19 million in grants to youth groups. They instituted a scholarship renewal program for past recipients and also have a scholarship program to support their employees. They collaborated with the nonprofit group MENTOR and have hosted five workshops across the country for students to convene and discuss real-world social issues.



Photo of Justin and Jennifer Jones

Mid-size Business Winner

Elephants Delicatessen
Portland, Oregon 

A locally-owned company since 1979, Elephants Delicatessen pioneered the gourmet food industry in the Pacific Northwest and now has eight Portland-metro area retail locations and a busy catering and events company, all serving great local foods prepared from scratch. Elephants Delicatessen prides itself on sustainable practices and voluntarily meets a higher standard of transparency and accountability, using the power of business as a force for good. Elephants Delicatessen became a certified B Corporation in 2015 and was honored in 2018 and 2019 with a B Corp "Best for the World" Changemakers award.



Photo of Great Full Gardens

Small Business Winner

Nick & Jake's
Overland Park, Kansas

Nick and Jake’s is this year’s small business award winner for its support of Children’s Hospital and for programs that address mental health awareness. In 11 years, Nick & Jake’s has raised more than $3 million, which has allowed the hospital to create a critical care unit, develop a canine therapy program and purchase three new ambulances as well as iPads for all doctors and nurses. Owner Kevin Timmons created “Nick's Voice," a school-based mental health initiative in honor of his son who died of suicide. They helped create a mental health curriculum in local school districts, hold town hall meetings for students and educators, and donate 10 percent of sales over spring break to the school system for teacher grants and educators.


Read About the 2019 Winners

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