It takes more than just good food and great service to get people to eat at your restaurant nowadays. Philanthropy, not surprisingly, has also become a key ingredient. In an effort to appeal to millennial sensibilities, more and more restaurants are now also making a strong effort to give back to the community through cause marketing. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. The success of cause marketing in attracting more millennials is undeniable. As Marla Topliff, president of Rosati’s Pizza puts it, “It’s become popular to look for a way to do good”, and indeed it has. A recent report by Nielsen finds that millennials really care. The study shows that around 75% of millennials have made a financial donation to a not-for-profit organization. More importantly, the study shows that over 60% of millennials will pay more for a product from socially responsible companies. Interestingly enough, Nielsen’s report suggests that almost all age groups have come to support socially responsible companies more than they did two years ago:

It seems, then, that being socially responsible isn’t simply something ‘hip’ and ‘different’ anymore, it’s a downright requirement for good business. A recent article by Brenda Smith for QSRweb.com explains ways in which food businesses can benefit from cause marketing through causes like the No Kid Hungry campaign. In it, she delineates the importance of understanding your customer base and what moves them, and then focusing your philanthropic efforts on those interests. Most importantly, however, companies must understand cause marketing not simply as a business tool to generate profit but as an effective way to do good that benefits everybody around them.

Sid Dhananjay, MSD Intern