Customers dining at local pizzeria

Why & How to Get Your Restaurant Involved in the Community

Independent pizzerias and restaurants have long been the cornerstone of their communities. From being the local gathering place for friends and family to sponsoring youth sports teams and providing first job opportunities for local teens, chances are you are woven into the fabric of your community. If you are new to town or haven’t been actively engaged in your neighborhood, this should become a priority for your business as it can have a direct impact on attracting customers and keeping them coming back.

A Gallup study of casual dining customers found that those who are fully engaged with a restaurant make 56% more visits per month than actively disengaged customers.¹ There may be no better example of this than the recent experiences of the pandemic. Supporting local restaurants is a top consideration for 41% of consumers in the start of the new year, +18% compared to May 2020.² This support has translated into additional orders, group funding for donations and generous tips as consumers show their support for favorite local restaurants and the staff who keeps them open.

Your active presence in the community has made this possible. If you are looking to play a more integral role in your neighborhood, here are some ideas to consider.

Integrate

While it may be obvious, the best way to integrate into your community is to live there. Sending your children to the local schools, attending the local church and participating in local events is the best way to understand what is important to your neighbors, and discover opportunities to make an impact.

Connect

Join clubs and organizations that will allow you to network with other community-oriented individuals and businesses. Reach out to local shelters and food banks to connect your resources with their needs. Donating extra food that would otherwise go to waste is an admirable way to make a difference.

Support

Grande encourages our Associates to support our local communities through “time, talent and treasure.” The same can apply to your pizza restaurant.

  • Time: Consider encouraging and providing opportunities for your staff to volunteer their time with community causes.
  • Talent: Crafting quality pizza is your talent. Share your passion with youth in your neighborhood by offering pizza classes or presenting at the school. Offer to make pizzas at events, donate pizzas to feed volunteers or essential workers, or offer them up as an incentive for education programs with the school.
  • Treasure: If you have the means to provide a financial donation, that is highly impactful to non-profit organizations and may also qualify for tax benefits. Consider sponsoring a youth sports team or initiating a fundraiser program at your restaurant. If you are a Grande 100-Percenter, download our fundraising template to get started today!

Shop Local

“Walk the walk” by sourcing local ingredients when possible to support other local businesses and growers. Not only do you show support for your community, you can also benefit your bottom line by replacing expensive, hard-to-transport ingredients. Leveraging seasonal, local ingredients also gives you something new and exciting to feature in limited time offers.

Champion

Even with limited time and resources, being a champion for community organizations and causes can build credibility and awareness for your restaurant. Use your social media platforms to promote community events and organizations that align with your restaurant’s values. Further engage by joining the conversation on other community social pages and being visible.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to community outreach. The more you know about your customers and what is important to them, the more creative you can be in providing support that aligns with your goals. “Cause marketing” has been a successful form of word-of-mouth marketing and it is here to stay according to Pizza Today’s 2021 Marketing Trends.

Hear from other operators about how they stay connected to their community in this video, and be sure to celebrate your own community involvement by sharing the “Eat Local Pizza” videos on your social media platforms.

Sources:

¹Gallup, “Community Involvement is Key for Restaurants Amid COVID-19,” March 2020
²Datassential COVID-19 Report 43: Optimistically Cautious, January 2021

Date: March 15, 2021

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