5 Fast Food Establishments That Give Back

Bonchon Chicken, Au Bon Pain, Arby’s and Dunkin’ Donuts are the names of just some of nation’s most popular fast food chains. Also known as quick service restaurants (QSR), these establishments are characterized by their ability to serve food in a timely manner with limited table service. However, there are a number of restaurants that also serve up charity on the side.

Panera Bread: Founded in Sunset Hill Missouri in 1987, Panera Bread (or St. Louis Bread Company) is a bakery-café fast casual restaurant. The fast casual atmosphere offers up incredible sandwiches, baked goods, soups, salads, and pastas, but the also do a great deal of charitable good as a part of the Panera Cares® community cafes. The progressive outreach program has set out to help raise awareness around food insecurity and hunger experienced by U.S. children. The Department of Agriculture estimates that 1 in 7 households have difficulty putting food on the table. That translates to 49 million people in America, and approximately 36 percent (16 million) of those individuals being children.

Since 2010, Panera Cares® community cafes, which offers a pay-what-you-can sliding scale to its guest, have open across the nation. They can be found in Clayton, MO; Dearborn, MI; Portland, OR; Chicago, IL; and Boston, MA. Through partnership efforts, they are also able to provide job training to their guests and do a great deal of other crucial things within needy communities.

Yum! Brands: The umbrella enterprise that brought us franchise giants, such as Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, is Yum! Brands. Each year, Yum! Brands hosts an event, titled World Hunger Relief campaign, which uses celebrity spokespeople to raise funds and awareness, and it helps to garner money support hungry Americans. According to the Yum! Brands’ website, World Hunger Relief has raised more than $600 million, and that money has provided nearly 2.5 billion meals to people in need.

Little Caesars: Little Caesars Pizza founded their Little Caesars Love Kitchen program, which has fed more than two million people nationwide. They also had the Little Caesars Veterans Program, a channel that helped to support honorably discharged military veterans.

Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A, which fries incredible chicken, has contributed more than $71 million to 700 charitable and educational organizations around the world. They’ve given to others in the form of food, charitable outreach, and the donation of funds.

Chipotle Mexican Grill: Chipotle Mexican Grill founded the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation in 2011, which is an organization that’s responsible for donating millions to non-profits, promoting causes, such as food literacy, agricultural practices, improved livestock, and good stewardship for farmers. The foundation has also set up numerous, generous grants over the years. The organization developed a $500,000 grant, which supports the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Program. They also issued a $250,000 grant to The Kitchen Community and a $100,000 grant, enabling the Ecology Center in Orange County.

These are just a few of the food chains that give back. Some other examples: McDonalds built an organization titled Ronald McDonald House Charities, which is responsible for awarding more than $52 million in scholarships to date since 1985; Taco Bell has multiple scholarship funds set up for students, including the Glen Bell Scholarship Program for hourly Taco Bell; and Starbucks has given $15.6 million to a number of organizations and community projects.

Additionally, Boston Pizza has donated nearly $20 million to regional, local and national charities and groups. Some of those groups include Kids Help Phone, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Know the names of any other superb fast-food chains giving back? Please share in the comment section or email me at hiddenpennies@yahoo.com.