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QSR Web: Restaurants aiding Hurricane Harvey victims: part 2

Published: 10 Sep 2017

QSR Web covered Dickey's contribution to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

Restaurant brands are working hard to help their communities recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, which has left at least 60 people dead and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed.

The industry, once again, is proving it's resilient and will always step up when needed. Below is a partial list of recovery efforts. To see part 1 of this story — which focuses on several other brands' donations — click here.

Pei Wei

Pei Wei has been providing food to first responders and victims and delivering free meals to shelters. The chain has also invited all Houston-area first responders to eat free through Sept. 8.

In addition, Pei Wei is making a $10,000 direct donation to The JJ Watt Foundation, provide after-school opportunities for middle-school aged children in the community to become involved in athletics.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Throughout Sept. 15, Dickey's Barbecue Pit locations will accept donations through Dickey's charitable foundation Barbecue, Boots & Badges. Along with in-store donations, the Dickey's Home Office will collect donations from all employees. Roland Dickey Jr. and Laura Rea Dickey will personally match up to $25,000, according to a company press release. 

"We can and will respond the best we can as a brand and a family to help all folks affected by Hurricane Harvey," said CEO Laura Rea Dickey.

Dallas-based Dickey's will also host a blood drive with Carter BloodCare from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 8 at the Dickey's Barbecue Pit location on Wycliff Avenue in Dallas. with all donations going to Houston area hospitals., and the unit will offer $2-pulled pork sandwiches to all who participate in the drive.

Lastly, Dickey's is partnering with national relief organizations to send available Home Office employees to Houston to help with rebuild the city.


With its headquarters and 33 restaurants located in the Houston area, Salata has experienced the horrific effects of Hurricane Harvey firsthand. Beginning today, the salad chain is encouraging guests to join it in raising funds for the hurricane victims. Participating restaurants system-wide will collect monetary donations through Sept. 30 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The JJ Watt Foundation.

"We are proud to call Houston home, but it's been truly shocking and heartbreaking to see the extreme loss caused by Hurricane Harvey in our neighborhoods and the surrounding areas," Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Bythewood, said in a company press release. "Houston is America's fourth-largest city and nearly six million people live in the counties most affected by the storm. We know that The JJ Watt Foundation will use these donations in the best way possible to help rebuild our community."

In appreciation for their tireless work, Salata provided free meals for first responders in uniform at 24 of its Houston-area locations over the Labor Day weekend.

Tijuana Flats

Tijuana Flats is hosting an in-store fundraising campaign today to benefit hurricane victims. Guests can donate to the cause at any location, and the chain's Just in Queso Foundation — established “just in case you need us" — will automatically match up to $15,000 raised by patrons.

"We understand the amount of work that is required of businesses and individuals to come back from a catastrophe like this," CEO Larry Ryback said in a press release. "While the people of Houston and the surrounding areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey undoubtedly face a long road to recovery, we hope that the funds raised during this campaign provide some relief in the challenging weeks and months ahead."

Panda Express 

Panda Express' Panda Cares is doing a variety of things to help victims, including donating $500,000 to be split evenly between the American Red Cross and The Tzu-Chi Foundation. It has also added in-store donation boxes in hopes of raising $1 million, according to a press release.

Of the few Panda Express locations that remain open in the area, operators have been coordinating efforts to provide food to the American Red Cross and to four shelters. Food will also be provided to hospital staff, doctors and patient families at Texas Children's Hospital's satellite location in Katy, Texas, according to the release.

Lastly, Panda Express will continue to pay associates who cannot work due to closures of their restaurants. This has impacted 831 associates.

Houston-based Sysco Corp. will donate at least $1 million for relief efforts in Houston and the Gulf Coast region, including an immediate donation of $500,000 to the American Red Cross, according to a press release.

"One of Sysco's top priorities continues to be making deliveries to critical customer locations," CEO Bill DeLaney said in the release. "We have been working diligently to get water, food and other supplies to our valued customers in Houston and other areas along the Texas Gulf Coast."

In addition to the donation to the American Red Cross, the company has established the Sysco Disaster Relief Foundation to provide funds directly to Sysco associates to help with the storm's aftermath. Sysco will match dollar-for-dollar each donation made by associates and business partners to this foundation. Funds will be used for shelter, food, clothing, transportation and other items needed by affected associates.

"More than 10 percent of our 3,000 Houston-area associates have already been directly impacted by Harvey, and as the storm's aftermath continues to be assessed, this number could rise," DeLaney said in the release. “Over $350,000 has already been collected for the Sysco Disaster Relief Foundation, which Sysco is matching, dollar-for-dollar. We established this foundation to support associates who incur significant financial and personal hardships as a result of natural disasters."

Jason's Deli

Although 26 of the 30 Jason's Deli units in Gulf Coast locations have reopened, the chain is still in recovery mode. This week it deployed two trucks from the Dallas-Fort Worth area with more than 74,400 bottles of water to two locations in Beaumont and delivered 1,404 gallons of soup to the Houston Food Bank. It has also provided 17,695 boxed meals and more than 100,000 bottles of water to those in need and will continue to send boxed meals and bottles of water for the foreseeable future.

Jersey Mike's Subs

More than 1,300 Jersey Mike's Subs locations nationwide are partnering with the Houston Food Bank and Corpus Christi Food Bank to help Texas residents, according to a press release.

This two-part program provides needed donations to the two local food banks:

From Monday, Sept. 11, through Sunday, Sept. 17, participating Jersey Mike's locations will donate $1 for every regular sized No. 7 Turkey Breast and Provolone sub sold. 
Through a grassroots program in September, Jersey Mike's will hand out special cards in local communities nationwide offering a free sub for a $2 donation to the food banks. Cards can be redeemed in participating restaurants from Friday, Sept. 15, through Friday, Dec. 1.
"We want to let people know about the fundraiser so they can come together and join us in this national effort to help all those affected by the devastation in the greater Houston and Corpus Christi areas," Peter Cancro, founder and CEO, Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems, said in the release. "We are grateful to our local owners, managers, and crews who dropped everything to make sub sandwiches for thousands of people in need as well as for fire departments, EMS and other first responders."

John Enterline, Houston area director, Jersey Mike's, who is heading up local efforts, said, "Our focus at the local level is on feeding as many people as possible who are in need and in shelters, as well as providing sustenance to first responders so they can continue their life-saving work. We appreciate the support from our customers across the country as well as from the Jersey Mike's system as we start to rebuild as a community."

All franchisees and team members are safe, and all locations are now open, Enterline said.

Jersey Mike's has 16 locations in the Houston area and two in Corpus Christi. The company expects to raise at least half a million dollars for the food banks.

"There are a lot of people down here in Texas who have lost homes and livelihoods," said Dalton Stewart, a Jersey Mike's area director in Dallas, who brought down a team to help colleagues make subs in Houston. "It doesn't surprise me that the Jersey Mike's family would step up in these difficult times to make a difference."

Stewart added that Jersey Mike's locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are feeding evacuees at local shelters as well as at the Red Cross Command Center there.

Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods sent teams to prepare meals for those affected by and responding to the disaster. The team set up a cooking site Friday at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe, Texas, to provide free, hot meals to anyone in need, according to a press release. In addition, the company is establishing a distribution network with local authorities and disaster relief organizations to deliver meals to flood victims in the Houston metro area.

Teams from Tyson Foods' operations in Clarksville, Dardanelle, Scranton and Texarkana, Arkansas, arrived Thursday, along with the company's Meals that Matter mobile relief truck. The company also sent three tractor trailer loads of product totaling nearly 100,000 pounds, one tractor trailer load of bulk ice, one tractor trailer load of bagged ice and one tractor trailer load of bottled water.

Tyson is working closely with its disaster relief partners, Bimbo Bakeries USA, Harris Baking Co., Hugg & Hall Equipment Co. and Peppersource to maximize relief efforts, according to the release.

Team Rubicon, another disaster relief partner comprised of military veterans, is deploying its Mobile Command Center, which was donated by Tyson Foods in 2014, and includes sleeping quarters and office and storage space for Team Rubicon's staff and volunteers.

The company has also announced $50,000 donations to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army to assist in disaster relief efforts in Texas.

"With nearly 12,000 team members throughout the state of Texas and a facility in Houston, the damage left by Hurricane Harvey hits close to home," Debra Vernon, senior director, corporate social responsibility, said in the release "This deployment wouldn't be possible without the support of our team members, disaster relief partners and customers who are all volunteering time and resources to make sure our response is as successful as possible."

Church's Chicken

There was a line out the door Aug. 31 in Beeville, Texas, when the local Church's Chicken opened for "Pay What You Can" day. The event was organized to provide meals to those impacted by hurricane and flooding conditions in the southeast Texas area. Over 6,000 pieces of chicken were served — the equivalent of 2,200 meals — for a restaurant that typically serves about 250 meals during a morning shift under regular circumstances, according to a press release.

"Some people told us Church's was the first hot meal they'd had in nine days — since the very start of storm conditions," CEO Joe Christina said in the release. "People are living in shelters and motels with no idea of when, or even if, they'll return home," he continued. "For them, this meal was a return to normalcy, if only for a brief moment, and a chance to restore hope for the days ahead."

The "Pay What You Can" event also functioned as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross. In all, the restaurant raised $1,750 — of which Church's intends to contribute another $3,250 for a total $5,000 donation to the American Red Cross.

In addition to making sure people are fed and have safe places to stay, Church's is working with police, the mayor and city council members in Beeville to coordinate additional relief efforts for the greater Corpus Christi area. Many towns just outside Beeville have yet to recover from storm damage and flooding, leaving local businesses closed and residents with fewer resources. One of the more pressing challenges is a lack of school supplies for students who had to evacuate or who suffered losses.

"We're very pleased to be able to remedy this issue through our Church's Foundation — which already has a strong focus on education," Christina said. "Local officials are working to let us know what students need to return to the classroom and we stand ready to support them."

QSR Web: Restaurants aiding Hurricane Harvey victims: part 2
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