For the last two months, Kenosha Steakhouse and Rita’s in Breckenridge have been donating 5 percent of total sales to nonprofits as part of their Eat Drink Give campaign. From Sept. 18 through Nov. 8, that portion of all food and drink sold on Wednesdays went to different local groups.
Stacy Schonell, the restaurants’ general manager, said bigger corporations, such as Target, that donate a percentage of their profits to charitable projects inspired her.
“There are a couple of big places that take out a portion of their profits, and I thought if it works for them, let’s try it,” she said.
This was the first year of Eat Drink Give, and the restaurants donated $1,560 total. The funds went to seven nonprofits around Breckenridge, including the Little Red School House, the Summit Conservation Center, Family & Intercultural Resource Center, Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, Advocates for Victims of Assault, Summit County Rescue Group and Summit Fat Tire Society.
“We had a smattering of choices, whether it was helping families or building mountain bike trails or recycling,” Schonell said. “We wanted to pick a lot of different ones and include types not all the same people would normally support.”
Schonell said other nonprofits have approached her since wrapping up the program, and she plans to do another Eat Drink Give in the spring with a new group of nonprofits. She said she chose nonprofits she knew didn’t do many big events to raise funds on their own.
“It’s a win-win because we get to raise money for these nonprofits and also get more customers in here,” she said. “Any weekdays in the fall are slow, but we have been experiencing an increase in sales in general.”
For Schonell, 5 percent was a reasonable amount during the slower part of the season. She said that amount would have been spent on promotion anyway, such as a buy-one-get-one-free deal, so she’s excited that money is now going to a good cause.
“I feel like restaurants can get so competitive, and people do a lot of different things to get customers in,” she said. “This was a different way for us to do that while also helping the community.”
While sales varied week to week on those Wednesdays, Schonell said overall the campaign was a success.
“I wanted to try something that seems good all around,” she said. “Hopefully in the spring it will be more popular and people will come out to support us and the nonprofits we pick.”