Red Lobster Boosts Dine-In With First National Cause Effort

Red Lobster is pairing up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the first time the chain has chosen a national charity partner. It’s also using the month-long fundraising effort to increase dine-in sales and raise funds for the children’s health nonprofit.

Scheduled to run through the end of April, the program offers customers the option of adding $1, $3 or $5 to their check. And those who give $5 or more get a $10-off coupon, which they can redeem for future meals of $40 or more. The restaurant that raises the most funds earns the honor of choosing a Wish Kid from its community.

The effort marks a change for the seafood chain, which has always focused on local efforts, such as gift card and basket donations, food donations and events. But the Orlando, Florida-based chain is likely to gain more visibility with Make-A-Wish. “The two organizations have shared values around the power of celebration and families,” a spokesperson tells Marketing Daily via email. “Rallying together for one great cause allows Red Lobster to have a bigger, more meaningful impact than ever before.”



She says the company is supporting the giving campaign with in-restaurant marketing materials, including lobby signage, table tents, carousels and server buttons. Red Lobster is also encouraging servers to talk up the charity, as well. Off-premise marketing includes a custom QR code, which it inserts into its to-go bags. And it’s also using email and organic social to aid awareness.

Campaign materials explain that $1 gives an icebreaker game for a wish kid and family,$5 helps with a pre-wish party, and $25 provides the family with a photo book. Those who give $100 buy a customized jersey that a child can wear when meeting a favorite sports team.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish grants wishes to kids with critical illnesses and has handed out more than a half-million of these experiences. It works with many corporate partners, including other restaurants. Dave & Buster’s, another restaurant chain, donates at the $1 million-plus mark and has generated more than $10 million in donations since 2012.

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