What Restaurants are Doing for Hurricane Harvey, and How You Can Help
September 5, 2017
By Danny Klein | August 2017 | Originally posted on Food NewsFeed
Restaurants have taken a leading role in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. From a local pizza chain giving away thousands of free pies to a national company donating millions, foodservice brands are stepping forward as Texas continues to recover from historic flooding and damage.
Here is an updating list of some of those efforts. If you hear of more, please feel free to email Danny Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whataburger: The burger chain pledged $1 million to the Whataburger Family Foundation, $150,000 to the Red Cross, and $500,00 to local food banks. Whataburger also said it is working with community partners and nonprofit organizations to distribute local support, and is establishing local Family Member Support Centers in Corpus Christi and Houston.
“To all our Family Members and neighbors who were impacted by this storm’s devastation, we stand with you. The path to recovering and rebuilding is long, but we’re here for you and we’ll get through this together,” Whataburger Chairman Tom Dobson says in a statement.
Long John Silver’s: The seafood leader closed 10 Houston-area restaurants. In an email, the company said its first order of business was to make contact with store managers and check in on the safety and well-being of employees. Gary Gerdemann, a spokesman for the brand, said they believe everyone is safe and accounted for, although a number of homes are flooded. The company is continuing to pay employees for hours scheduled this week even if the restaurant remains closed.
BJ’s Restaurants: The chain announced that it will aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey with the help of its guests and team members nationwide. Every Tuesday, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse offers $3 Pizookie desserts, and on September 5, all proceeds from every $3 Pizookie will be donated to the American Red Cross in support of the Houston relief efforts.
“We are deeply saddened to see the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey,” says Greg Trojan, president and CEO of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc., in a statement. "With as many restaurants as we have in Texas, this storm has impacted many of our team members, guests, friends, family, and our hearts go out to those who have lost so much. It is our honor to engage our restaurants across the country to raise much-needed money and help with the recovery.”
Diners can visit any of the 194 BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse restaurants nationwide on September 5 to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey. BJ’s is also launching an internal assistance program to help its fellow team members in need. More than 22,000 BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. team members will have the opportunity to donate $1 or more to benefit their fellow team members who are impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The BJ’s Restaurants Foundation, a registered non-profit, will match team member contributions and cover the cost of any local in-kind food donations
Hooters: Hooters announced it is donating funds to the American Red Cross for its Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Throughout the month of September, guests at participating Hooters locations in the U.S. can choose to round up their checks or make a donation to benefit the cause. Hooters will match guest donations dollar for dollar, providing up to $100,000 in additional support.
In addition to donating while dining in at participating locations, Hooters fans can also support relief efforts by ordering their favorite Hooters food for takeout via the new Hooters mobile app. For every paid order made on the app through Sept. 30, Hooters will donate an additional $1 to the American Red Cross, up to $50,000. Visit the Apple App Store or Google Play to download the app and place an order at one of more than 190 participating locations.
“Immediately after Hurricane Harvey hit in Texas, our franchisees and employees came forward, suggesting ways that the Hooters family could help those in need. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those who have been affected, including the thousands of Hooters employees and their families in Texas and Louisiana,” says Carl Sweat, global chief marketing officer, Hooters of America, in a statement.
The total funds raised across participating Hooters locations will be matched by the Hooters Community Endowment Fund (HOO.C.E.F.), a 501(c)(3) company that has contributed more than $10 million to local and national charitable groups since its inception in 1992.
Jack’s Family Restaurants: Jack’s Family Restaurants, LP will accept donations for Hurricane Harvey relief at all 143 locations across Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia in partnership with the American Red Cross. Customers can go to any location and make a monetary donation, no purchase necessary.
“While we don’t have any restaurants in Texas, we take care of our neighbors in the South and we wanted to provide a way for our customers to support Houston from afar,” says Todd Bartmess, Jack’s Family Restaurant CEO, in a statement,
To donate, customers can simply add a donation to their food order or request to donate only. Donations will be collected through September 19.
Greenville, South Carolina: On September 4, the Greenville restaurant community is throwing a family brunch and closing down Main Street to raise funds to assist in relief efforts. Chef Michael Kramer, who opened Jianna earlier this year, teamed up with Table 301 Restaurant Group owner and Jianna partner Carl Sobocinski to fuel the effort. More than 10 Upstate restaurants have volunteered to provide food and staff while other businesses are providing the other support needed, at no charge. The brunch's beneficiary will be the American Red Cross.
Wisconsin Cheese: The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, funded by the Dairy Farm Families of Wisconsin, coordinated a state-wide effort with Wisconsin cheesemakers to send over 17,000 pounds of cheese to Houston to provide nutritious food for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“We are deeply saddened by the devastation facing Texas residents in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” says Suzanne Fanning, WMMB VP of Marketing Communications, in a statement. “Our Wisconsin cheesemakers and dairy farmers are inherently focused on helping others so we offered them a way to get involved. Their response to our call for donations was overwhelming—we were initially hoping to send 200 pounds of cheese, but the donations kept pouring in—totaling over 17,000 pounds.”
On September 1, WMMB employees, cheese company employees and dairy farmers, packed a delivery truck in Madison with more than 17,000 pounds of smoked string cheese, cheese curds, muenster, parmesan, classic cheddar and more. The shipment also included 300 pounds of butter.
The delivery is expected to arrive at the Houston Food Bank next week. The Houston Food Bank is the nation’s largest food bank with distribution to its network of nearly 600 hunger relief charities in 18 Southeast Texas counties. Shipping and logistics support is being provided by Independent Procurement Alliance Program (IPAP), based in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Arby's: United States Beef Corporation (US Beef), Arby’s largest franchisee, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, announced fundraising efforts to assist with disaster relief for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
September 4 through Sunday, September 10, all US Beef owned Arby’s restaurants in nine states across the Midwest and western states, will be donating 10% of all brisket sandwich sales to the American Red Cross relief efforts emerging from Hurricane Harvey. The proceeds donated from these sales should generate approximately $50,000 in donations to the relief effort.
“This hurricane has been historic in the damage and devastation it has unleashed on our neighbors to the south, and we are eager to support the relief efforts and do our part in assisting the American Red Cross in rebuilding and aiding so many communities impacted by this deluge. Arby’s smoked briskets come from a smokehouse in Texas, and that’s why we selected those sandwiches for this fundraiser,” says John Davis, chief executive officer of Tulsa-based US Beef, in a statement.
This fundraising effort is only in all 356 US Beef owned Arby’s restaurants, and includes Arby’s restaurants in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington.
Main Event: Main Event Entertainment, which owns and operates five centers in and around Houston, has mobilized its other 33 centers to collect supplies essential to the recovery effort.
From September 1 September 4, the 33 Main Event Centers outside the affected areas will serve as collection points for non-monetary donations. Relief agencies have specifically requested the following supplies:
Socks Pillows, pillow cases, sheets and blankets Towels and washcloths Please be sure to only donate new, unopened items. All items will be collected and delivered to a leading relief agency in each market, including the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Trusted World.
“Hurricane Harvey has affected hundreds of our Main Event team members and a countless number of our guests, so we are trying to do as much as possible to help them in their time of need,” says Becky Johnson, chief marketing & sales officer of Main Event Entertainment. “Every donation matters, no matter the size. So please swing by your nearest Main Event center over Labor Day weekend and help us provide meaningful support to the victims of this horrific storm.”
Panda Express: All in-store Panda Cares donations will be split between the American Red Cross and The Tzu-Chi Foundation. This program will run for two weeks through September 15 and is applicable to all U.S. Panda Express locations with in-store Panda Cares donation boxes. Panda Cares is committed to raising $1 million through in-store donations.
Additionally, Panda Express will implement the following initiatives to support the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Panda Cares Foundation donation: Panda Cares will donate $500,000, split evenly to American Red Cross and The Tzu-Chi Foundation In-kind food donations: Of the few Panda Express locations that remain open, these operators are coordinating efforts to provide food to American Red Cross and have already donated to four other shelters; food will also be provided to hospital staff, doctors and patient families at Texas Children’s Hospital’s satellite location in Katy, Texas, Associate pay: Panda Express will continue to pay associates who cannot work due to closures of their restaurants—this has impacted 831 associates. Fogo de Chão: On September 4, Fogo de Chão will donate $10 from every adult entrée purchased to the Houston Food Bank in support of the Hurricane Harvey relief effort (the goal is to raise more than $100,000 nationwide for the cause). Plus, they’re offering all first responders a free lunch or dinner in both Houston (8250 Westheimer Rd.) and The Woodlands (1900 Hughes Landing Blvd. Suite 400) through September 15, and possibly longer.
Urban Bricks Pizza: Sammy Aldeeb and his team opened the doors of their Corpus Christi location and served free pizza until the pantry went dry. All in all, they gave away more than 700 pies and delivered over 200 to first responders. Next, Urban Bricks plans to open its Houston store and hand out thousands. Read more about the story here.
Buffalo Wild Wings: Buffalo Wild Wings: Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. announced a nationwide fundraising initiative to support ongoing Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. From September 3 through September 17, participating Buffalo Wild Wings locations will match in-restaurant donations received from Guests, up to $100,000. Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants will participate with a goal of donating more than $200,000 to the American Red Cross.
“Buffalo Wild Wings takes pride in supporting each and every community in which we do business,” says Sally Smith, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Our in-restaurant fundraising and match program is one way we can help support the families and communities impacted by this devastating storm.”
Jersey Mike’s: More than 1,300 Jersey Mike’s Subs locations across the country are partnering with the Houston Food Bank and Corpus Christi Food Bank to help Texas residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey. This two-part program provides needed donations to the two local food banks:
From September 11 through September 17, participating Jersey Mike’s locations will donate $1 for every regular sized #7 Turkey Breast and Provolone sub sold.
Through a grassroots program in September, Jersey Mike’s will hand out special cards in local communities nationwide offering a free sub for a $2 donation to the food banks. Cards can be redeemed in participating restaurants from September 15 through December 1.
“We want to let people know about the fundraiser so they can come together and join us in this national effort to help all those affected by the devastation in the Greater Houston and Corpus Christi areas,” says Peter Cancro, founder and CEO, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems. “We are grateful to our local owners, managers, and crews who dropped everything to make sub sandwiches for thousands of people in need as well as for fire departments, EMS and other first responders.”
Jersey Mike’s is a fixture in Texas neighborhoods, with 16 locations in the Houston area and two in Corpus Christi. The company expects to raise at least half a million dollars for the food banks.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill: In an effort to help the tireless police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics assisting those affected by the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey, Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s Woodlands location will offer any first responder a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs & Spaghetti entrée. The offer is available for dine-in or take-out through September 10.
“It’s been terrible to see the affects this storm has had on our community, and we want to do what we can to provide support to those brave first responders who are helping those in need,” says Mike McCorkle, director of operations for Macaroni Grill, in a statement.
Menchie’s: Menchie’s is hosting a national fundraiser to raise money for The American Red Cross in an effort to aid people who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. On September 9, participating Menchie’s stores will donate 10 percent of their sales to The American Red Cross.
“We were devastated to hear the destruction that Hurricane Harvey has caused the people of Texas, and we want them to know that our hearts and prayers are with them,” says Elizabeth Berry, senior director of marketing at Menchie’s, in a statement. “One of our core values is community, as we are always focused on spreading smiles in local communities, and we hope that our fundraising efforts will help people get back on their feet and provide them with the supplies they need.”
Salata: Twenty-four ofSalata’s 33 Houston-area locations reopened Thursday. And in appreciation for the heroic work being done by Houston's finest, those 24 Salata locations will be feeding first responders in uniform for free through September 4.
These Houston-area locations will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. while they work to get back up and running. For a listing of all the Salata restaurants that will be feeding first responders for free, please visit http://bit.ly/2esuCvq.
“It’s truly heartwarming to see all of the support that Houston has received during these hard times,” says Michelle Bythewood, CMO of Salata, in a statement. “We are fortunate enough to be able to open 24 of our Houston-area restaurants today. We wanted to do what we could to give back to the brave individuals that have worked so tirelessly to assist those in need.”
Sysco: In response to Hurricane Harvey, Houston-based Sysco Corporation announced the company will donate at least $1 million for relief efforts in Houston and the Gulf Coast Region, including an immediate donation of $500,000 to the American Red Cross.
“Our valued communities, customers and associates are the heart of Sysco,” says Bill DeLaney, Sysco’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “We have a long history of providing aid in times of disasters, helping communities prepare and recover by delivering food, water and emergency supplies. Our $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief will allow us to provide additional assistance to the communities, customers and associates we are committed to.
In addition to the donation to the American Red Cross, the company established the Sysco Disaster Relief Foundation to provide funds directly to Sysco associates to help with the storm’s aftermath. Sysco will match dollar-for-dollar each donation made by associates and business partners to this foundation. Funds will be used for shelter, food, clothing, transportation, and other items needed by affected associates.
The Big Salad: Based in Michigan, owners Mauro and Celma Forastieiri are serving free meals from the chain’s Richmond, Texas, location from 10:30 to 8 p.m. on September 5. The store is also collecting donations for Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief provided by the American Red Cross. “What happened here is an unfathomable disaster. People here are hurting and they’re hungry,” Mauro says in a statement. “We want people to come and share a meal together—on us, if only to give them a break from the challenge of rebuilding their lives.”
“Mauro and Celma are exactly the kind of owners we want in our franchise family and this is exactly the type of event we want our owners orchestrating,” CEO and founder Bornoty adds in a statement. “Richmond was our first restaurant outside the state of Michigan. We love being here. We love the people and we are grateful for the chance to show the love on Tuesday.”
Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group: The Texas-based company announced it would donate more than $1 million to Houston-area food banks. From Thursday through September 4, 20 percent of sales at all 53 Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Del Frisco’s Grille, and Sullivan’s Steakhouse restaurants nationwide will be donated to support the Houston community.
“We are deeply saddened to see the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey,” says Norman J. Abdallah, CEO of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. "As a Texas based company, this storm has impacted many of our friends, family, team members, and guests and our thoughts are with all those impacted. It is our honor to engage our restaurants across the country to raise much needed money to support the Houston area food banks that are feeding those in need.”
Del Frisco’s planned to open its Houston-area company stores on Thursday. Even so, the company is providing payment to all local employees who were unable to work during the week. Internal efforts are also underway through DFRG FEED Employee Support Fund, in which DFRG employees can make donations to support fellow employees affected by Hurricane Harvey and all employee donations will be matched 100 percent by Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group.
Tyson Foods: Tyson is setting up a cook site at the Montgomery Fairgrounds in Conroe, Texas, to hand out free meals starting at 11 a.m. Friday. In addition, a distribution network will be established with local authorities and disaster relief organizations to deliver meals to flood victims in the Houston metro area. Teams from Tyson Foods’ operations in Clarksville, Dardanelle, Scranton, and Texarkana, Arkansas, planned to arrive onsite Thursday. The company’s Meals that Matter mobile relief truck will be sent from its home in Springdale, Arkansas, and is also expected to arrive onsite Thursday.
Tyson is sending:
Three tractor-trailer loads of product totaling nearly 100,000 pounds One tractor-trailer load of bulk ice One tractor-trailer load of bagged ice One tractor-trailer load of bottled water The company also announced it donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross and $50,000 to the Salvation Army.
“With nearly 12,000 team members throughout the state of Texas and a facility in Houston, the damage left by Hurricane Harvey hits close to home,” said Debra Vernon, senior director, corporate social responsibility, in a statement. “This deployment wouldn’t be possible without the support of our team members, disaster relief partners and customers who are all volunteering time and resources to make sure our response is as successful as possible.”
Which Wich: Which Wich launched a PB&Js for Harvey campaign Thursday to run through September. The sandwich chain will donate $2 from every Project PB&J sandwich sold directly to Red Cross of America to help with the Harvey relief efforts, and is matching all donations from guests up to $100,000.
Perdue: The company committed a minimum of 1 million pounds of protein to support relief efforts in Houston and surrounding communities in southeastern Texas. Donated protein will be directed to local Feeding America-affiliated food banks and the Houston Independent School District.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those people affected by this developing tragedy,” says Steve Evans, president of Perdue Foods, in a statement. “The images of suffering are heartbreaking and we’re compelled to do our part to help. We hope that our donation will provide some level of comfort to those impacted. We know the recovery process will be long and difficult for many, and Perdue will continue to look for ways to assist.”
As part of Perdue’s ongoing commitment to Feeding America, about half of the protein donation will be distributed to food banks in the Houston area, and Victoria and San Antonio, Texas. Rescue efforts are also under way for pets and animals, and Perdue has donated nearly 68,000 pounds of its Spot Farms brand dehydrated dog food to Feeding America. In addition, the Houston Independent School District will receive 500,000 pounds of protein to assist feed victims and first responders through a network of nine feeding center in surrounding communities.
Starbucks: The Starbucks Foundation donated $250,000 for relief. Customers who wish to aid in the recovery can do so in any U.S. company-operated store through a donation to the American Red Cross. Starbucks employees who make a personal contribution to the relief efforts can request matching funds through the company's Partner Match program. Starbucks’ Caring Unites Partners Fund, funded by Starbucks partners, will also be a resource available to partners in need who apply.
Shake Shack: The fast casual’s Houston location fed Houston police officers Monday. Many employees couldn’t make it to the restaurant, but those who did cooked up burgers and gave them away to anybody who came in.
Beef O’Brady’s: Beef's O'Brady's and the Brass Tap will be hosting a nationwide fundraiser on September 5 where 15 percent of all proceeds will be going to the American Red Cross.
The Black Family Foundation: Washington, D.C-area restaurants Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Black Jack, Tilt Side Bar, BlackSalt, Black’s Bar and Kitchen, Black Market Bistro, Republic, and Addie’s Restaurant will match dollar-for-dollar donations up to $100.000 made by guests to aid in relief through September 14 at all locations.
DC Dines Out for Houston: So far, more than 10 large D.C.-area restaurant groups are planning to host and promote “DC Dines Out for Houston” Thursday during all meals served at participating restaurants. Industry leaders like Andy Shallal of Busboys and Poets, José Andrés and Think Food Group, Michael Babin of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, and many more, are leading the way. The idea is for restaurant groups, or individual locations, to choose a percentage of proceeds between 5 and 1 percent that they will pledge to give to a Harvey relief fund or organization.
A small sample: At Beefsteak, China Chilcano, Jaleo Bethesda, Jaleo Crystal City, Jaleo DC, Oyamel, and Zaytinya, 5 percent of sales on Thursday during "DineOut4Houston" will be donated.
More from DC: On September 2, members of the city’s food and beverage community are banding together for a city-wide fundraiser in support of the American Red Cross’ relief efforts. At DC Brau Brewing Company, 100 percent of sales made on September 2 will go to Harvey relief efforts.
Atlanta steps up: Grindhouse Killer Burgers is donating 10 percent of all sales to the Red Cross on September 2 and September 3. Red Pepper Taqueria’s two locations is hosting a Tacos for Texas event on September 5, giving away 50 percent of the day’s sales to the Houston Food Bank. The Dunwoody Restaurant Group, which owns seven concepts is donating 10 percent of all sales from opening until 10 p.m. on September 10 to the American Red Cross.
New Orleans: Alex Brennan Martin, of Brennan’s of Houston and part of the famous Brennan restaurant empire in NOLA, led an effort to raise $1 million for New Orleans’ hospitality workers. Pizza NOLA, Cavan, St. James Cheese Co, and Café Hope, among others, are collecting gift cards for Houston-area hospitality workers and their families. The Blind Tiger restaurants are donating profits from a special “Texas” burger to Harvey relief.
Chipotle: The fast casual chain is delivering more than 50,000 pounds of food and feeding volunteers during a Red Cross telethon.