How GiftAMeal Helps Needy While Benefiting Restaurants

GiftAMeal, a cause-marketing company dedicated to feeding local communities, set a new record by donating $1.7 million meals to date, equating to over 2 million pounds of food distributed to local communities. Even more impressive is the charity’s growth rate increase of 640% over 2022.

The cause marketing’s company’s  premise and execution are simple: It provides a meal to a family in need in a restaurant’s local community every time a guest takes a photo of their order from a partner restaurant.

As of the end of 2023, GiftAMeal had over 1,000 partner restaurants across 37 states. October was the highest impact month on record, with 53,449 meals donated. GiftAMeal is currently working with 112 foodbanks, up from 65 last year, impacting an additional 47 service areas and almost doubling its reach.

Interestingly, the partnerships benefit more than just the needy. “Restaurants partnering with GiftAMeal have seen their guests return 39% more frequently, spend 20% more per visit, and tip 32% more than standard patrons,” according to the company.

QSR Insider spoke with GiftAMeal Founder and CEO Andrew Glantz about the company.

QSR Insider: How does GiftAMeal benefit restaurants and influences repeat/high-spend customers?

Glantz: With GiftAMeal, restaurants are able to truly form an emotional connection with their customers. Since GiftAMeal is free for the guest and funded by the restaurant, the guest feels a sense of gratitude towards the brand for making this social impact possible for their community. This sense of connection creates a boost in satisfaction in their experience, prompting them to be a higher value customer for the brand, returning more frequently, spending more, tipping more, and also becoming an advocate for the brand to their friends by promoting the brand in an uplifting way on social media with their GiftAMeal photos.

This organic promotion further solidifies the bond between the guest and the brand, creating a ripple effect of positive word-of-mouth marketing.

QSR Insider: What sort of marketing do you do to spread awareness of GiftAMeal?

Glantz: GiftAMeal's unique value proposition of aligning profit with purpose has really resonated across the industry as we look to spread awareness of our program. We've been fortunate that many industry leaders have shared our story, as well as many of our partner restaurants. Speaking at and attending conferences has been instrumental in exposing new restaurants to our concept as well.

Moreover, the guidance and support from our exceptional Advisory Board members—such as Dan Sokolik, vice president of marketing of Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken; Phil Crawford, CTO of CKE; Andy Rebhun, chief experience officer of Cava; and Seth Hall, principal of 858 Partners—have been invaluable in spreading the word about GiftAMeal's mission and objectives.

QSR Insider: Why do you think there’s been so much growth in 2023?

Glantz: In 2023 we were fortunate to begin working with some truly incredible brands, from national chains like Pizza Factory (110 locations) to regional groups like Snarf's Sandwiches (30+ locations).

As we continued to prove the impact that GiftAMeal could generate both for the restaurant's bottom line and their community, we saw a huge influx of interest from additional brands looking to try us out.

Throughout the year, we launched multiple product improvements that restaurants found attractive. One example was an app-less version of GiftAMeal, where a guest can effortlessly scan a QR code and submit a photo to donate a meal locally -- with no app download or account creation necessary.

Additionally, our new restaurant dashboard became a game-changer, offering brands the ability to access and download user-generated content seamlessly while gaining insights from detailed reports.

QSR Insider: What’s next for 2024?

Glantz: GiftAMeal envisions continued growth and impact. We aspire to expand our reach by forging partnerships with more restaurants across communities in all 50 states. Additionally, we plan to enhance user engagement through technological advancements, making the program even more user-friendly and interactive.

Our goal is to become a household name synonymous with social responsibility in the dining experience. We aim to innovate, collaborate, and empower even more individuals to make a meaningful difference in their communities simply by dining out.


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