The winners are:
- IHOP – Glendale
- Milano Restaurants International Corp. – Fresno
- Yard House Restaurants – Irvine
- Gala Corp. – Costa Mesa
- Jamba Juice – Emeryville
- BJ’s Restaurants – Huntington Beach
“Each of these companies exemplifies what we see industry-wide – an industry driven and fully committed to giving back to their communities and making a tangible difference in people’s lives,” CRA President + CEO Jot Condie said.
- IHOP’s National Pancake Day is IHOP’s largest one-day philanthropic event, and involves the company give away its famed pancakes for free. The program has raised more than $10 million in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities in six years. The event involves employees company-wide, from waitstaff and cooks to corporate executives.
- For more than 50 years, Milano Restaurants’ Me-n-Ed’s Pizzerias have served the Fresno area, from sponsoring Little League and softball teams, to promoting literacy and education, to sponsoring the Me-n-Ed’s Fresno Cross City Race to raise money for the Saint Agnes Medical center. In 2011, the company’s community contributions totaled more than $550,000.
- Yard House is the founding restaurant company behind Round It Up America, a program that launched in 2009 and has since recruited several other companies to join the effort. Round It Up America makes it possible for patrons to round up their check total to the nearest dollar, with the spare change being donated to local and national charities, disaster relief, as well as industry educational programs. To date, the program has raised more than $575,000, including nearly $276,000 in 2011. Company President and CEO Harald Herrmann co-founded the program and has been integral to expanding it beyond Yard House.
- Gala Corp., which includes 25 units including Applebee’s and Famous Dave’s restaurants, is deeply dedicated to supporting organizations involved with supporting military veterans, including encouraging employees and guests to write thousands of letters to the troops during its Operation Vets, White and Blue event on Veteran’s Day. In 2011, the company served more than 9,200 to active and retired veterans on Veteran’s Day. In November, Famous Dave’s locations raise money and ship many bottles of World Famous BBQ Sauce to the troops overseas, in partnership with the USO.
- During the holidays, Jamba Juice’s holiday gift drive to support the Family Giving Tree to grant wishes for children from more than 250 social service agencies in the Bay Area. In 2011, Jamba Juice fulfilled 523 wishes for the program, and expanded to include similar organization in Southern California and New York. Employees, including President and CEO James White then volunteered for a day to distribute gifts in San Jose.
- BJ’s signature Team Action to Support Communities (TASC) Force program involves encouraging employees to volunteer in their communities for a variety of causes and needs. The grassroots-driven effort has resulted in more than 180 events – all originating at the unit level, such as building houses with Habitat for Humanity, constructing playgrounds, exercise events and clean-up projects at schools, parks and beaches. In 2011, donations in support of TASC Force events exceeded $50,000.