Since the COVID-19 crisis swept through the United States, restaurants have been providing free meals to frontline workers and local communities even as they face catastrophic revenue losses tied to stay-at-home mandates.
Today, Chick-fil-A and Chipotle Mexican Grill continue the industry's streak of giving by announcing initiatives to help the needy and essential workers.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has created a $10.8 million community relief fund that will be distributed through its network of more than 1,800 franchisees. The local restaurant owners will distribute funds to local communities in the form of food donations or items for first responders, health care workers, or Chick-fil-A employees and their families.
“Striving to be a supportive, caring and generous neighbor is in our DNA,” CEO Dan Cathy said in a statement released Monday. “Our restaurant operators give back locally in so many ways, and this time is no exception."
Cathy said he was humbled by the “incredible care” franchisees are already doing during the crisis. Many have given free meals to health care workers, fed school children in need and offered notes encouragement for guests.
“They know where the need is in their local community, and our goal for this fund is to support their efforts,” he said.
On Monday, Newport Beach, Calif.-based Chipotle Mexican Grill announced a five day effort to feed healthcare workers.
Through the buy one, give one program, held April 21-26, Chipotle will donate a burrito to medical professionals every time customers name their burrito order "4HEROES" on the Chipotle app or Chipotle.com. Healthcare workers can sign up for a chance to receive their free burritos starting on Nurses Day, May 6.
Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer, said: “We’re excited to give fans another opportunity to support our heroes by simply naming their burrito.”
Chipotle and Chick-fil-A join hundreds of chains, individual restaurant owners and industry coalitions working to help essential workers and medical professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell has deployed its “Taco Bell Taco Truck” to feed 7,000 frontline workers in states across the U.S. The truck plans to more than double that number over the coming weeks, Taco Bell said on Monday.
Since March 12, &pizza has distributed more than 25,000 pies to frontline workers through a partnership with Citi. Last week, Subway said it was teaming up with Feeding America to provide up to 15 million meals to people in need across the country. With every purchase of a Footlong sandwich, Subway will provide a meal to Feeding America. The offer goes through April 30.
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