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Feelings of Helplessness Turn to Feeding the Front Line


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“A lot of people just kind of feel helpless at home,” said Jodi Boyce, executive vice president of marketing at Teriyaki Madness.

That feeling seems to echo across the board, but several food franchises are channeling those feelings into doing what they can do to help: feeding front-line workers. A previous story detailed brands such as Dickey's Barbecure Pit, Chicken Salad Chick and Apple Spice Box Lunch Catering and their efforts to feed healthcare workers. Teriyaki Madness, Saladworks and Huey Magoo's Chicken Tenders are among the many brands that launched initiatives lately.

Teriyaki Madness, a fast-casual, made-to-order teriyaki shop concept, decided to launch a Pay-It-Forward Campaign on April 2, where customers can visit their catering website and select a “Healthcare Teriyaki Bar” to have a fully loaded spread delivered to the healthcare location of their choosing.

Each teriyaki bar feeds up to 10 people, then Teriyaki Madness matches each contribution. A fully loaded teriyaki bar costs $150, but customers only pay $75 and Teriyaki Madness covers the rest, including delivery. Boyce said their team is calling every single customer who places an order to thank them and ask what hospital or first responder they want the teriyaki bar to go to.

“It’s manual, but very rewarding on our side,” Boyce said. “There’s such generous people out there, some people who have never tried our food but heard about the initiative or saw it on TV.”

A woman in Las Vegas bought $3,000 worth of food, which Teriayki Madness matched, then delivered to six hospitals. Another customer from Great Falls, Montana—who is a grocery store bagger—used her economic stimulus check to buy 10 teriyaki bars for healthcare workers.

So far, they’ve fed a total of about 4,000 people. The brand expects to contribute close to $100,000 total in matching dollars.

Boyce estimates that initially, sales at Teriyaki Madness were down 40 percent, but in the past few weeks they’ve seen a consistent positive trend and are now only down about 12 percent. Multiple factors contributed to this increase, including the brand turning some shops into drive-thrus, introducing curbside pickup and hosting pop-up drive-thru service in parking lots. They were already working with third-party delivery companies before this and are now relying on them even more, while starting to test their own delivering service.

“It’s all about being really flexible. Franchisees have really good ideas, too, so we’ve been working closely together,” Boyce said. “It’s not one person coming up with these ideas, it’s all hands-on deck.”

Founded in 2003, the brand has franchise agreements in place for more than 200 shops in the U.S. There are 69 locations open, and 45 new locations were slated to open before COVID-19, Boyce said.

Meanwhile, Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders delivered free lunch to first responders at 12 medical facilities on April 29 from its 10 restaurants in Central Florida and its newest stores in South Florida and Greater Atlanta. Another franchise, Saladworks, has donated more than 1,000 meals to healthcare workers since launching their “Fives for Lives” fundraising campaign, in which every $5 a customer contributes is matched with a free meal to a local hospital team from Saladworks. The salad franchise hopes to raise $25,000 in donations to then donate 5,000 meals to hospitals and first responders. Founded in 1986, Saladworks has more than 100 locations in 18 states and has used funds from its campaign to donate to hospitals in states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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