Giving Back


In a time when so many restaurant operators are struggling to make a profit or even to keep their doors open, it might be easy to put thoughts of charity and community service at the back of their minds, but for the thousands of restaurant operators in Michigan and hundreds of thousands across the country, being a "good neighbor" and giving something back to the community is still a priority.

The Michigan Restaurant Association is proud to announce two state winners for the fifth annual Restaurant Neighbor Award, a national program established by the National Restaurant Association to honor and recognize restaurant operators who go above and beyond in supporting their communities, Buddy’s Pizza of Farmington Hills and Mac & Ray's of Harrison Township. These winners will now compete for three, national grand prizes of $5,000 to their favorite charity or project and an all-expense paid trip to the NRA Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

"Buddy's Pizza and Mac & Ray's are extraordinary examples of the philanthropic spirit that is so prevalent in the Michigan restaurant industry," said MRA Executive Director Rob Gifford. "Restaurants have long served as social gathering places, as venues for community group meetings and fundraisers, as meal-providers for the hungry, and as supporters of youth activities, in addition to serving high quality meals. We selected these two establishments because of their dedication to improving their communities and the lives of those who reside there."

Buddy's Pizza entered the restaurant business in 1946 and has been in the business of giving ever since. "At Buddy's, we feel we have a social responsibility as a corporation to be a good community, but our giving goes beyond a call of duty," said Buddy's owner Robert Jacobs. "The work we do to contribute and give back to the community is a rewarding experience, and our involvement helps create a good working environment for our employees and their customers."

Since 1977, Buddy's Pizza has donated more than $2.5 million to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen of Detroit through its "Slice For Life" benefit. In addition to raising money through ticket sales and food donations, Buddy's has helped increase public awareness of the soup kitchen through social media, flyers, posters, menu cards and media commercials that are displayed for more than 1 million guests each year and have provided the soup kitchen with an endless amount of support.

"Many individuals and families first heard about the Capuchin Soup Kitchen through the Buddy's Pizza Day event," said Fr. Lloyd Thiel, chariperson of development for Capuchin. "This has resulted in new and life-long donors supporting our continuing mission to feed the hungry. This is something that we consider a precious and valuable bonus - leading to a much larger contribution volume and overall impact." "For several decades, Buddy's Pizza has been a true friend to thousands of those in need," Gifford said. "Buddy's Pizza has managed to raise over $2.5 million to feed the hungry, as well as significantly increase awareness through the launch of a major promotional campaign to encourage their customers to get involved and help make a difference in their communities."

MICHIGAN RESTAURATEUR - A publication of the Michigan Restaurant Association.