How You Can Stay in Business While Giving Back

A look at 5 California restaurants helping those in need and steps on how you can do the same

Liza Cahiz
January 21, 2021

San Jose, California, like the rest of the world, has been hit hard by the pandemic and lockdowns. In an effort to keep their businesses afloat, five restaurants have joined together and started an initiative, Chef's Market, that also gives back to the community. The drive-thru pop-up location allows customers to order and pick-up from any of the five restaurants, and for every meal purchased a second is donated to local non-profits San Jose SHIP Kits and Hunger at Home. 


This collaboration is being called a "win-win-win-win" as it brings business to restaurants and chefs, customers enjoy a meal thats supports local businesses and a charitable cause, and finally organizations are receiving donations they critically need.


Starting something like this may not be possible for all restaurant owners, and will depend on the current restrictions and guidelines in your city and country. But if you are interested in beginning a similar initiative, here are 5 of the steps that you'll need to take:

Partner with other restaurants

While we are all physically distancing ourselves, there is no reason that you can't work together on this endeavor. The pandemic has fostered a greater sense of community and this is an opportunity to tap into that and ask for support. Partner with other restaurants in your area to show support for one another and the community. The more businesses that get involved, the more the word will get out and the bigger impact you will have

Decide how you want to give back

Sadly, there is no shortage of need, especially during this pandemic, so you have options on how to give your support. You can choose to donate prepared meals to local homeless shelters, or produce and perishable foods to food banks. Or even donate your time. Volunteer to cook or distribute food at shelters. Continue to get your community involved by accepting food or clothing donations at your restaurant, and bringing them to local charities. Or if these options are not viable for you, you can donate to a number of non-profit organizations feeding those in need. Decide what is possible for you to give and what your community needs most. 

Pick an organization to support

Depending on how involved you want to be and what you are donating, pick a local or national non-profit to support. There are many options for food-banks and organizations providing food to those in need during this pandemic. Below are links to a few reputable options, research where the most need is in your community and who is providing that assistance locally. 

Here are some links to reputable organizations:

Create a smaller menu

Create a paired down menu of foods that are faster to prepare and travel well. It is best to limit options to single and family sized servings, focusing on two or three popular dishes from your restaurant.

Set up a location for pick-up

Each restaurant involved can handle pick-up and delivery on their own, or you can decide on a central location and create a drive-through system to limit contact. This can be held in a parking lot that is centrally located to both the restaurants involved and the community.

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