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January 4, 2018

How Community Involvement Makes Donatos a Top Player in the Restaurant Industry

This blog is part of a series to highlight the restaurant companies nominated for the Best Practices Awards, presented by Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K). Winners will be announced at the 2018 Global Best Practices Conference on Tuesday, January 30th. Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) and place in the top 10 percent of their dining segment in these categories. See the full list of 2018 nominees here.
Conscious capitalism revolves around the idea that business is about much more than making a profit. It’s about a higher purpose, one that includes serving the environment and society at large. Although many are skeptical about the efficiency of this concept, some companies are proving that conscious capitalism pays its dividends and beyond.
Donatos is one of these companies charging forward with conscious capitalism. Established in 1963, this restaurant has grown from a small mom-and-pop pizza restaurant in Columbus, Ohio to 200 locations across the country. Throughout its tremendous growth, one thing has remained true – giving back is an essential part of the company culture.
Here are five ways in which Donatos gives back to its community:

  1. Volunteering in local charities. Employees volunteer during company-paid work hours with various agencies in the southside of Columbus, the neighborhood where the first Donatos restaurant is located. This area of Columbus is home to many families that are struggling, resulting in a great need for assistance. Donatos associates can volunteer with the Lutheran Social Services food pantry, read to preschoolers at the South Side Learning and Development Center and contribute to Community Development for All People, which runs a free store for those in need.
  2. Donating through Project Goodwill. Donatos employees also contribute to various nonprofits through monetary donations. Associates have to the opportunity to take a payroll deduction to benefit organizations including the Donatos Promise Family Fund, which supports fellow employees with medical costs and funeral expenses, the United Way and the Southside Champions Fund.
  3. Partnering with the Ohio State University’s Buckeye Cares Program.This program operates under the mission to build goodwill and engage, educate and inspire the community. This is done through activities that encourage learning and development for children throughout Central Ohio, including having Ohio State University athletes visit schools and learning centers to work and engage with kids, and also inviting deserving kids to attend Ohio State basketball or football games. As a pillar partner, Donatos
  4. Joining the fight to end hunger. Each year, Donatos hosts two Mid-Ohio Food Bank non-perishable food drives, which serves families in need throughout the state. In 2017, this organization collected over $75 million in food donations. Likewise, Donatos home office employees also volunteer with Meals on Wheels to deliver food to the elderly in nearby communities.
  5. And beyond… Overall, Donatos contributes over $214,000 in monetary and in-kind donations to more than 625 nonprofits and charitable organizations across the region every year. Employees from the corporate level to the unit level actively serve their local communities, and Donatos’ contributions are certainly felt throughout the nation.

Does this level of dedication to the community impact business results as well? “Our community engagement and sustainability practices continually elevates itself to the top of our associate engagement surveys and feedback,” explained the Donatos team. Being good stewards of natural resources and supporting our local communities help us attract like-minded people and in return our people reflect our values to our customers and our customers reward us with increasing sales and bottom line profitability. It’s not overly complicated to be successful. It starts and ends with people doing what they love.”
Loved reading about Donatos & their Best Practices? You should read “2017 Best Practices Award Nominee Series: Red Lobster” to learn how operators from this seafood chain drive success within their organization.

Register for the 2018 Global Best Practices Conference!

Join us at the annual Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) Global Best Practices Conference from January 28th – 30th, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. This event is the premier restaurant industry conference designed for senior restaurant leaders. This year will be packed with groundbreaking research and industry best practices to help you kickstart the new year. Register today!
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