From the blog 7 Ways Restaurants Can Celebrate Global Community Engagement Day

Global Community Engagement Day is a one-of-a-kind community-focused activity that takes place every Jan. 28 across the world. The goal is to encourage engagement practices across the globe by bringing people together to discuss important issues in their neighborhood.

An Australian organization, Engage 2 Act (E2A), started Global Community Engagement Day. According to members of E2A, the idea remains a bit of a blank canvas — they want supporters to make the day their own. Members of E2A like to think of it as a “choose your own adventure” style of social responsibility, and they welcome any kind of participation that helps connect people locally.

Why Your Restaurant Should Support Global Engagement Day

Becky Hirst, president of Engage 2 Act, says the day is intended to help “get community engagement on the map.”

“We need people to understand it,” she says. “We need it to become mainstream. Launching a Global Community Engagement Day is one step towards raising the profile and importance of high-quality community engagement in decision making and problem solving.”

Supporting local engagement doesn’t just help the community. It can also benefit your restaurant by:

  • Boosting employee morale: Make your restaurant an attractive place for potential hires, as well as increase employee satisfaction among your current staff. The National Restaurant Association reports that 87 percent of millennials surveyed think a company’s commitment to the community is an important factor when they are weighing whether to work for that company.
  • Enhancing brand perception: When they see your engagement activities, customers, volunteer organizations and social media connections will gain a more positive view of your business. They will feel like they’re doing good simply by visiting your restaurant.
  • Driving new business: As the neighborhood hears about your community engagement efforts from friends, colleagues and social media, they’ll be more motivated to try your restaurant for the first time. You’ll also catch the eye of volunteers of the charities you support.

How Your Business Can Become Involved In Community Engagement

Taking part in Global Community Engagement Day is easier than you may think. Vasilios Lambos, a longtime partner in his family’s restaurant businesses, Xenia Hospitality Group, believes that “one of the best and most underrated ways to build community engagement is by simply connecting with the community inside your restaurant.”

You don’t even have to step outside of your restaurant’s doors to engage and make a positive impact. Here are some tips for making the most of Global Community Engagement Day, as well as year-round.

  1. Bring customers, community members and other local business together by organizing a special meeting at your restaurant to talk about important community issues.
  2. Ask customers and employees what they think community engagement means and how they feel their work can impact the world. Post their responses on social media with the hashtags #commengageday and #globalcommunityengagementday.
  3. Capture videos and photos of your celebration and post on your social media outlets. Tag friends in the photos!
  4. Make it an ongoing activity by encouraging staff to offer a free drink or dessert to regular customers, or anyone who needs a pick me up. This boosts loyalty and happiness for both staff and customers.
  5. Be proactive about engaging nonprofit organizations. Instead of waiting for them to ask for in-kind donations, make the first move. Call and offer them gift cards for your restaurant that can be used as raffle prizes and volunteer gifts.
  6. Add engagement to your list of daily specials. Choose up to five organizations in your area that you know your customers care about. You can even survey customers and let them choose the charities. Then, feature a different “community special” each day and donate a portion of your proceeds to one of the favorite local charities.
  7. Invite community organizations to meet at your restaurants. Nonprofit boards and volunteer groups are always looking for meeting spaces. What a great way to make new friends and new customers!

Hungry for more ideas that will benefit your restaurant and community? Check out the book “Kitchen Table Sustainability” by Wendy Sarkissian for practical recipes to help transform your community engagement strategy with sustainable practices that will make a real difference for your neighborhood and business.

Learn more about Global Community Engagement Day activities around the world via the official website and social media —Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.

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Are you ready to grow together?