Editor's Note: This piece was written by TriplePundit editorial staff on behalf of Yum! Brands.
As consumer tastes evolve past the products companies provide to what the company stands for, many restaurant companies are beginning to see the value helping to build up the local communities they operate in. These companies are using their expertise to address social challenges occurring in developed and developing nations alike.
Yum! Brands is a leader in driving community impact by working to make food accessible to the less fortunate around the globe. The restaurant company, which has nearly 43,000 restaurants in over 130 countries and territories worldwide, gives back to the communities in which its brands operate making a positive difference in the lives of their customers, employees, franchisees and their families.
In fact, Yum! Brands’ executives, managers and employees have implemented many forward-thinking community programs over the years, which include addressing challenges related to education, food scarcity, literacy and community engagement. Each of the company’s brands, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, have shown leadership on these issues in striving to make the communities in which they are located a better place to live and work.
Since 2007, Yum! Brands has raised over $640 million in cash and food donations in order to curb hunger worldwide. Various programs have added much needed capacity to many local initiatives, including food banks and hot meal programs, across six continents. In Asia, for example, Yum! Brands’ programs, including Pass the Red Cup, helped to provide 19 million meals in 2015. The company has worked with non-profits, and celebrities including Christina Aguilera, to raise awareness about hunger while seeking donations of as little as $5, an amount the company says can feed as many as 20 children.
The company’s KFC brand has been successful at leveraging the skills of its employees and managers in order to tackle hunger. For example, KFC has worked on a variety of hunger campaigns that have contributed to 14 million meals distributed in South Africa last year, an effort critical in a country where over 53 percent of households live under the poverty line. One initiative, KFC Add Hope, succeeded in raising $3.7 million in 2015, enough to feed 100,000 South African schoolchildren daily over the course of the year, helping to keep them focused on their studies and build a better future.
The company has also focused its work related to hunger within its wealthier markets: KFC France’s work with the charitable organization Les Restaurants du Coeur contributed to offering 2 million meals to needy families throughout France during 2015. Halfway across the world, employees at both KFC and Pizza Hut worked with the United Nations’ World Food Program to fund a wide range of efforts, including social media campaigns and events at cricket matches, to deliver 3 million meals to hungry Australians.
Pizza Hut has also been at the forefront of making its meals more healthful while assisting with hunger relief campaigns worldwide. In addition, its commitment to being a company that “Lives Life Unboxed” also has worked to improve literacy. In fact, for over 30 years, the company has run BOOK IT!, the largest corporate-funded reading program in the U.S. In fostering a lifelong love of reading, this program, available in schools or to home-schooled children, operates a six-month program for students from kindergarten through the sixth grade. Each year, at least 14 million children in 620,000 classrooms participate in the program. In addition to a smartphone app, BOOK IT! manages a volunteer program, and also offers students the chance to win a college scholarship.
On education, Yum! Brands other popular restaurant, Taco Bell, leverages teenagers’ affinity for its food into expanding opportunities for young Americans. Since 1992, the Taco Bell Foundation has offered higher education opportunities to thousands of youths; this year a total of $1 million in scholarships is available. Through the Live Más Scholarship fund, 220 scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000, will be available for future creators, dreamers and innovators—without applicants having to wrangle with the submission of essays or test scores. The company says it has distributed educational and job training support to at least one million teens across the U.S., with another $75 million provided for scholarships and grants for five million young Americans. Amongst its numerous 2020 goals, Taco Bell says it wants to contribute to increasing the U.S. high school graduation rate from 81 percent to 91 percent in four years. With its 36 million customers—many of them in their teens or twenties--visiting its 6,000 restaurants each week, the company has capitalized on showcasing the need to expand educational opportunities for the nation’s future leaders.
“Our three iconic brands continue to demonstrate that we’re a company dedicated to feeding the world, not only for profit, but also for good. Collectively, we’re focused on making courageous decisions every day that deliver on the CSR commitments our consumers and stakeholders truly care about when it comes to our food, people, communities and environment,” said Greg Creed, CEO, Yum! Brands.
By not only raising, but delivering on, these important issues related to local economic development, Yum! Brands has set the standard for community engagement within the global food and restaurant sector. In strengthening its partnerships with organizations such as Get Schooled, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Dare to Care Food Banks, the company shows how partnerships with non-profits can help address some of society’s most pressing social issues while preparing today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders and visionaries.
Image credits: Yum! Brands