Several quick-service brands from various segments have launched cause-marketing campaigns. Here's a roundup:
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp. is once again teaming up with local law enforcement officers for the 10th annual Cops on Doughnut Shops program to benefit Special Olympics. The nationwide fundraising program will begin at 6:00 a.m. on April 30 and will end at 6:00 p.m. on May 2. Police officers will sit on the rooftops of more than 30 Krispy Kreme stores throughout the United States to raise funds for the Law Enforcement Torch Run and increase awareness of the Special Olympics movement.
Police officers will collect donations from customers and the general public as they eat, sleep and play on the rooftops of Krispy Kreme stores. Last year, Cops on Doughnut Shops events raised more than $230,300 throughout the country.
Celebrating its 29th anniversary in 2010, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is the movement's largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness campaign. There are a variety of events supporting Special Olympics including Torch Runs, Polar Plunge events and the World's Largest Truck Convoy. Since its inception in 1981, the Torch Run has raised more than $270 million for Special Olympics' athletes.
Carl's Jr., Hardee's Pink Star campaign
CKE Restaurants Inc. and its Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurant chains are once again preparing for $1 million fundraising campaign to help in the fight against breast cancer. The chains' annual Pink Star campaign kicks off today at Hardee's and April 28 at Carl's Jr., and will run through May 18.
To participate, restaurant guests donate $1 in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. For each $1 donation, guests receive a commemorative pink Happy Star to personalize and place on display in the restaurant; in addition, they receive restaurant coupons valued at more than $10 to use toward future purchases.
The Pink Star campaign has seen amazing growth since the Carl's Jr. franchise group Star Franchise Association initiated it in 2005 and raised $175,000. Carl's Jr. company-owned restaurants came on board the next year, and Hardee's joined the program in 2007. In 2008, the Pink Star campaign raised more than $900,000. The $1 million mark reached last year — the fifth year of the campaign — brought total earnings to more than $3.1 million.
The leave-behind piece combines Happy Star, the icon for both Hardee's and Carl's Jr., and the color pink, which has come to represent hope and awareness for those affected by breast cancer. All of the campaign printed materials are donated by Carl's Jr. and Hardee's supplier SynqSolutions Inc. of Atlanta.
The funds raised through the Pink Star program go directly toward free mammograms for underserved women and breast cancer early detection programs.
Taco Bell Foundation for Teens
Taco Bell's continual fundraising efforts for its Taco Bell Foundation for Teens will result in a payout of $1.8 million in donations to 250 Boys & Girls Clubs and youth-serving organizations across the country this month. Participating Taco Bell restaurants place canisters in their stores so patrons can support teen programs by donating their spare change.
The Taco Bell Foundation for Teens grants will fund real world experience programs that help teens stay in school and graduate toward a better life. The grants also will allow an estimated 30,000 teens to experience real-world activities that will spur them to stay engaged in their communities and inspire them to remain in school, working toward graduation.
Examples of these activities include:
- The Greater Sacramento Boys & Girls Club's K.A.P.E.R.S (Kitchen Assistants Pursuing Excellence, Rewards and Service to Community) program showcases the restaurant industry by providing teens with kitchen operations and management training.
- In Medford, Ore., S.O.C.K.S (Serving Our Community Keystone Style) allows Boys & Girls Club teens to plan service projects in conjunction with other community agencies.
Since 1995, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and its supporting programs have helped more than 500,000 teens stay in school and on the path to graduation through its national partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
On April 23, 2009, participating Taco Bell restaurants across the country conducted the first-ever nationwide fundraiser to support Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, donating 15 percent of gross sales that day, totaling $1.8 million.
Burger King Haiti relief continues
Burger King Corp. is continuing its commitment to providing assistance to Haitians both in Haiti and South Florida, where the Burger King brand was founded more than 55 years ago.
The company recently partnered with Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center to provide a series of free legal assistance clinics to the Haitian community of South Florida.
BKC lawyers, paralegals, other employees and family members — as well as several lawyers from BKC's outside law firm — assisted 60 Haitians at the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center to complete their applications for Temporary Protected Status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the United States for at least 18 months.
BKC leveraged existing business relationships with CVS Caremark Corp., IKON Office Solutions and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) for additional assistance with the effort. CVS provided free passport photos to accompany the application, IKON provided copy machines, printers and paper, and ACS provided information technology support.
The Have It Your Way Foundation launched the Burger King brand's support of the Haiti relief and development efforts with its $55,000 donation to the American Red Cross immediately following the earthquake in January. Burger King restaurants in the U.S. and Puerto Rico also quickly rallied to further support the efforts by accepting donations in restaurants, raising more than $245,000 for the American Red Cross.
KFC Buckets for the Cure
KFC is in the midst of a joint fundraising effort with the Susan G. Komen for a Cure to raise funds to support breast cancer awareness, education and research. The company has switched to pink buckets for the Buckets for a Cure campaign. When operators purchase the special pink buckets during the campaign period, 50 cents of that cost goes to the fundraising effort. KFC's goal is to raise $8.5 million and make the single largest donation ever to the foundation.
KFC's campaign has drawn criticism from some health advocates and cancer survivors for pinkwashing because fried foods have been linked to breast cancer in some studies.
Sue Reninger, managing partner, client brand strategy, for RMD Advertising, said when done well, cause marketing is a powerful tactic for a brand.
"It puts a face on the company, helps consumers understand the product at a deeper level, demonstrates passion by putting money where the messaging is and, when executed correctly, drives sales," she said.
Christa is editor of QSRweb.com and contributes to FastCasual.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. She has experience in the restaurant industry as well as 15 years as a journalist.