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The Secret Ingredient for Staying Popular & Profitable | FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage strengths, create concepts, refine menus & identify opportunities to increase revenue & capatalize on the changes in today's dining out patterns.

I LOVE RESTAURANTS and I especially LOVE working with those that give back to the community. Within any given community, restaurants are the heart. They are the place where neighbors and families gather to share good times, and also where they turn to in times of need. 
Each year, the restaurant industry donates $3 billion in resources to communities, despite their slim margins and challenging economies. 
With a thorough understanding of what it means to be hospitable, here are some of our favorite eateries that are undeniably delicious and worth the visit, since each donates proceeds to charity. These are chefs, chains and indies that FoodPower has had the good fortune to work with, but we know there are many more, so please feel free to email us about other restaurants that are going above and beyond to feed the need! And don't hesitate to go support your favorites' causes!

1 MILLION SERVED
I am proud to have had the pleasure of working with Bruno Serato and his team at the Anaheim White House when he, at the urging of his Mama Caterina, started feeding the underprivileged kids living in motels near his Orange County restaurant in 2005. I was there helping him when he received his first award, the National Restaurant Association's Good Neighbor Award. 
Today, a decade later, he has served more than 1 million meals and has become even more involved, as he works to relocate families from motels to homes. 

He has recieved recognition from the biggest news sources and was named a hero by Jerry Seinfeld for CNN, but last week, Bruno took the time to sit down with me and discuss the impact his program has made across the country. First to Upland and Santa Barbara, then to Houston, Chicago, and Brooklyn, NY -- and most recently, with the support of Barilla Pasta and other independent restaurants, to Italy.  Watch the moving video that explains his work HERE.

DRIVING MISS BETSY
Chef Bill Bracken says “nobody should go to bed hungry.”  He has put this huge dream into action with his no-kidding drive, which led to the birth of Bracken’s Kitchen... on wheels! Lovingly referred to as "Betsy," this mobile kitchen has begun serving tasty & nutritious meals to those who must choose between food and other necessities on a regular basis. I recently met up with Bill on Ross Street in Santa Ana, where he's stationed every Tuesday night at the Illumination Foundation's Children’s Resource Center that provides after school and summer programs for the children of underserved families.  When the parents come to pick up their kids Bracken's Kitchen offers a complete hot and nutritious meal to the entire family usually serving between 120 & 150 meals.   
Bracken is partnering with friends, family and like-minded folks and companies to create a sustainable model that will cater private parties on weekends with Betsy, the movable restaurant, to support his passion for nourishing and nurturing the needy during the week. Bill explains, “[It’s] my way of using the culinary talent and skill that I’ve been blessed with for something more meaningful and lasting.” Learn more HERE.


BEYOND THE PIZOOKIE

BJ’s amazing Charitable Foundation is run by Rob DeLiema and it has given more than $19 million through grants, annual programs and special initiatives, to 2,300 community organizations in 15 states. I am lucky to work as a Judge at the National Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation ProStart competition with Rob, whose work helps make it all happen for high school kids interested in the culinary world and restaurant management. Most impressive is BJ’s T.A.S.C. Force (Team Action to Support Communities). It is far more than pizzas and pizookies. What begins in the kitchen ends up in the community as cooks and servers become volunteers. Each restaurant forms a team to support the community events in their neighborhood. This empowers the young staff members to give back and provides them with the tools to do it. Brilliant. Rob reports that more than 450 stories with photos have been turned in and the California (CRA) and National Restaurant Association (NRA) have given them awards for being the most community minded large restaurant chain.