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Restaurants focus on community initiatives

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While at the NRA Show 2010 earlier this week, I had the opportunity to hear Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse Subs, speak on the subject of community and restaurants. I had figured there was a story behind a name like Firehouse Subs, but I hadn’t realized how much the inspiration behind the chain’s name inspired the rest of the company.

Firehouse Subs was started by two brothers, Chris and Robin Sorensen, who came from a family with a long history of firefighters. The brothers combined their family’s history of public service with a little entrepreneurial spirit to launch a family-oriented sub-shop chain.

Fox offered three examples of restaurant chains that focus on giving back to the community:

  1. Firehouse Subs: As I mentioned above, Firehouse Subs took its name from a family tradition of firefighting, and as such, the founding brothers wanted to give back to that community. The sandwich chain operates a public-safety foundation that donates lifesaving equipment to first responders and has donated more than $2 million worth of gear.
  2. McDonald’s: The quickservice chain is renowned for its Ronald McDonald House Charities. The company has more than 300 houses worldwide that offer services and support systems that contribute to the health of children.
  3. Chick-fil-A: This quickservice chicken chain is faith-based, and as such is not open on Sundays. The company’s WinShape Foundation has seven faith-based initiatives, including a college scholarship program, camps for kids, a foster-home network and a wilderness program.

How does your restaurant give back to the community?

Image credit: skodonnell, via iStockphoto