Restaurants from all over the United States are rallying on behalf of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims to offer monetary support to the disaster relief efforts. McDonald's Corporation and Starbucks Coffee are leading the pack in contributions from large chains, but the majority of the efforts appear to be coming from smaller restaurants.
McDonald’s has pledged $2 million to be channeled through the International Federation of the Red Cross, and Starbucks has committed to donating ¥100 million (approx. $1.2 million USD). Additionally, Starbucks will match any donations from its employees.
"The devastation in Japan has stunned and saddened the global community, and we're reaching out to help with this contribution," said Jim Skinner, McDonald's CEO. "We send our best to everyone affected by this disaster, including our employees and our customers."
McDonald’s has 3,302 restaurants in Japan. The majority of the restaurants are open with fewer than 300 remaining closed due to damage and staffing issues. Starbucks has about 900 units in Japan, and about 100 of those stores are currently closed.
Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands, parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, which has more than 1,000 shops in Japan, announced that it will make a "sizeable donation" to the relief efforts, and will solicit donations online until March 31. All funds donated to the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation will go toward the American Red Cross for its efforts in the country.
Other restaurants across the U.S., such as Panda Express and SushiSamba, a Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese fusion concept with locations in New York City, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas, are offering special promotions with proceeds benefitting the Red Cross.
Through the end of March, more than 1,300 participating Panda Express locations will facilitate donation collections with in-store drop-boxes. Donations also will be accepted at participating Panda Inn and Hibachi-San restaurants.
All guest-donated proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross while corporate-generated proceeds will be donated to the relief organization, Tzu Chi Foundation, which is currently providing two hot meals per day in Oarai Town.
Panda Restaurant Group will match 100 percent of the proceeds collected at Panda Express, Panda Inn, Hibachi-San locations and by associates nationwide.
SushiSamba is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from a specially created $12 sushi roll from now until the end of March.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Restaurant Group, with four restaurant locations in Boston, will donate the proceeds from sales of its Tokyo Burger ($13) directly to the Red Cross. The promotion will continue through lunch and dinner service until April 1.
Mikuni, a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar with six locations in the Sacramento, Calif. region, as well as one in Truckee, Calif., and one in Colorado, will contribute 100 percent of the proceeds from its Rescue Roll to the Red Cross through March 31.
While restaurants continue to pledge support for Japan relief efforts, the largest aid as of yet has been offered by Coca Cola. The company has announced it is raising its initial pledge of $7.3 million to $31 million throughout the next three years. It appears to be one of the largest sums the company has ever set aside for disaster relief.
Here’s a list of other restaurants lending a hand to the cause:
- Takami – a sushi restaurant in downtown Los Angeles is donating 100 percent of its proceeds to the Red Cross. No deadline date has been set.
- Restaurateur Linda Derschang, owner of Linda’s Tavern, King’s Hardware, Smith and Oddfellows restaurants in Seattle, donated 100 percent of the proceeds from March 15 to the International Medical Corps.
- Umi Sushi and Tapas, located in West Hartford, Conn., will donate 100 percent of its proceeds from Sunday, March 20 to the Red Cross.
- Japanese-inspired restaurants in New York City, Nobu, Mehtaphor, SHO and Terroir Wine Bar are all donating portions of proceeds to relief funds.
- Fearing’s restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas will donate a portion of proceeds to the American Red Cross.
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