What do one of Toronto’s best brunch spots and Starbucks have in common?
Recently, Paul Klein, the Founder and CEO of Impakt was in Dallas, Texas for the 100,000 Opportunities event. This initiative is striving to “reinvent our hiring, retention, and advancement practices in order to access new sources of talent from communities that have not traditionally been included.” 100,000 Opportunities is doing absolutely fantastic work.
While Paul was at the 100,000 Opportunities event he saw Howard Shultz, the CEO of Starbucks spending time talking to youth. Starbucks isn’t a small company at all and has excess money to spend on social responsibility. They have found fantastic ways to support the community, the environment, diversity and to find ways to source their coffee ethically. For example, Starbucks takes the initiative to work on-the-ground with their coffee farmers to strengthen their communities. They provide local farmers with “resources and expertise to lower the cost of production, reduce fungus infections, improve coffee quality and increase the production of premium coffee.” In addition to this, Starbucks has established their own employee benefits program for employees working 20 or more hours a week.
If a multinational corporation like Starbucks can take the time to support 100,000 Opportunities and support the community, the environment, diversity and source their coffee ethically, what can small corporations do? Are CSR strategies only for big businesses?
Social media is playing a large role here, now small businesses can easily communicate their initiatives to their consumers. When a business explains why and how they are supporting a cause it will drive consumers to their product or service. Small businesses can also garner local press for their initiatives. By supporting your employees you are supporting the local community and improving your brand reputation in the public eye. Recently, Emma’s Country Kitchen started an initiative that jumped out to me because it was talked about in blogTO, CBC, The Star, City News, Benefits Canada, The Globe and Mail… and even Reddit.
Emma’s Country Kitchen is a small mom and pop brunch spot on St. Clair West. But on top of being rated the second best brunch spot in Toronto by BlogTO, it also just started offering its full time employees benefits. Employee benefits are not very common in the restaurant industry. Co-owner, Heather Mee decided to add a three percent surcharge on all bills to help subsidize the cost of the benefits plan. However, customers can opt out of the surcharge.
Here’s a link to the article posted in CBC News Eggs and bacon, with a side of employee benefits: Restaurant adds charge to fund employee health plan.
By Nicole Bryck