Irvine-based Habit Restaurants, the company that owns and operates The Habit Burger Grill, closed out 2012 by marking the opening of 17 new restaurants in California and Arizona, bringing the total number of restaurant locations to 69 in three states. The expansion served as a fundraising opportunity as well, with the company raising more than $100,000 for local nonprofits at pre-opening events for each new restaurant and fundraisers at existing locations.
"The Habit follows a simple but effective plan for each opening that's been part of the company culture for a long time," said Russ Bendel, CEO of the Habit. "About six weeks out, our marketing and local teams start researching community partners and come up with a short list of organizations to approach. We select three dates, pair each with a non-profit and then host two lunches and one dinner where guests may order from the complete menu. The partnership encourages the charity to invite their supporters in for lunch or dinner. We then give 100 percent of all proceeds back to the non-profit."
Donations from each new restaurant opening ranged from $4,000 to $6,000. When a new location opens, The Habit partnership program with local organizations contributes 20 percent of sales from identified supporters’ checks to the nonprofit.
"It's a win-win--they get a sneak peek of a restaurant that will be opening soon, our crews get to practice, and it's a joy at the end to make three meaningful donations to our partners and new neighbors," said Mike Mirkil, vice president of marketing.
Organizations that benefited from the pre-opening events and fundraisers include Boys & Girls Clubs, Girls Inc., Irvine High School, Huntington Beach Educational Foundation, and CHOC Children’s.
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