Spotlight on Business: Celebrated Chefs

12 10 2009

Celebrated Chefs

A little over a week ago, I dined at Urbane in Seattle before heading to see Wicked at the Paramount Theater. I hadn’t actually planned on going to Urbane until passing by it earlier that day, curiously entering inside and spontaneously making a reservation. Boy am I glad I did. The food was fresh, creative, and tasty – and the restaurant also introduced me to Celebrated Chefs.

Celebrated Chefs is a program designed to raise money for non-profit organizations continuously and seamlessly. Its the brainchild of Bob Sarkie, along with the healthy support of Pete Higgins and Nicholas Hanauer. And given Mr. Sarkie’s experience with Entertainment Publications, Celebrated Chefs is the culmination of his work towards creating a smooth transaction-oriented program that supports non-profits. It practically makes all enrollees of the program continual donors, without even knowing it – and I mean that in a good way.

How does it work?

There are two ways to enroll in the Celebrated Chefs program, one of them is through their participating restaurants. The program essentially offers restaurants the opportunity to diversify their marketing and further contribute to their non-profit support. Celebrated Chefs has carefully handpicked these restaurants for being local, serving quality ingredients, and having an all around chef team of their peers. Inclusion is exclusive, price points vary, and all of these restaurants are worth trying at least once in your life.

At these Celebrated Chefs restaurants, once a customer registers their credit card at the point of purchase, the restaurant will donate 5% of the bill (pre-tax) to their selected charity. (And you get a free cookbook with recipes by all of the restaurant chefs too.) The idea is that you just might consciously make the decision to dine at one of these member restaurants in the future so that you’re able to donate more money. Note that the non-profit designated with your credit card at enrollment will be the non-profit to which member restaurants contribute to when you dine thereafter.

The other method to enroll is at a non-profit fund-raising event. Thus the program offers non-profits a way to extend their support by promoting enrollment with Celebrated Chefs. This is viewed as both a special offer, particularly because you get a free cookbook, and a way for supporters to extend their contributions without forgoing additional funds directly. Contributions are still made by dining at one of the participating restaurants; thus, the Celebrated Chefs program virtually provides an endless fund-raising opportunity. Should you support one of the program’s included non-profits, you may be able to enroll at one of their next events.

How does Celebrated Chefs make money?

Like any business model, there’s a bottom line. And with such a generous and seamless program, there has to be a benefit to creating and administering the system. At Celebrated Chefs, each of the participating restaurants pays Celebrated Chefs an additional percentage fee per transaction with enrolled members/customers. This fee is not included within the 5% that is donated to non-profits, rather it is an additional percentage of the transaction thereafter. Likely, the fee is palatable and contained within a portion of the restaurant’s cause marketing and advertising budget. But given all the ways that a restaurant can market themselves, this certainly is one of the most community oriented and “feel good” options that I’ve heard of.

When are these restaurants offering the Celebrated Chefs promotion?

Promotions are going on right now! In fact, The Pike Brewery is running their promotion this week. Otherwise, if you’re on one of the participating restaurant’s mailing lists, you may receive a notification of their Celebrated Chefs promotion directly from the restaurant. Whether it is through a newsletter, e-mail, or on their website – these restaurants are sure to let you know when their enrollment promotion will occur and how long they intend it to last.

Dining locally with the purpose of supporting local non-profits – I’d say that’s a good use of your time and money. And hey, you might also be able to reconnect with friends and eat delicious food while you’re at it!

Photo courtesy of the Taste Sam Blog.



One response

16 10 2009

Enrollment with Celebrated Chefs will also be available at the Flaunt Fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on October 21, 2009 at the Columbia Tower Club in downtown Seattle.

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