Lumberjacks Restaurant franchisee Justin Cadili offers his top tips for supporting charities as a business owner.
Justin Cadili is the owner of the Susanville, California Lumberjacks Restaurant location. Cadili understands the value of being an active member of the community and during his time as franchisee of his Lumberjacks Restaurant location, has donated time, money and food to organizations such as Lassen Family Services – a nonprofit that works with men, women and children that have been involved in domestic violence situations – as well as the Lassen Senior Services, the Lassen County 4-H Program, the Susanville Elks Lodge, the Blue Star Moms and much more.
1851 spoke with Cadili about his community work and the impact it has on running a successful franchise business.
How important is it to give back to your local community as it relates to growing your business?
Cadili: It’s really important. Susanville is a small community and it’s important to reach out to the different organizations in the community. We need to go out into the community to keep our sales going and grow our business. I’ve been here five years and we’re involved in a variety of organizations, but it’s key to support organizations that you think are important to the community. We’re a big ranching community, so the Lassen County 4-H Program is a big one for us. In fact, we just finished doing a 4-H fair with them. The key is to find out the things that your community is involved in and those are the things you want to support.
What local or charitable outreach efforts have you made in order to connect with your local community?
Cadili: I’m on the board of directors for Lassen Senior Services – it’s a non-profit that serves the seniors of Lassen County. I help them with outreach and fundraisers. One of the biggest is a Kansas City Barbeque Society barbecue contest that’s coming up this month. It’s a huge fundraiser for the organization. I coordinate that and help get donations from other local businesses and help them pull it off without a hitch.
Another organization is Lassen Family Services, which is involved in the community to help with domestic violence. We help with men, women and children who have been involved in domestic violence.
What are your top ideas or tips to market your local business?
Cadili: We’ve been open for five years, but the very first thing that I did when I came here was establish the restaurant. I wanted to make sure we were ready to go out and promote ourselves. We didn’t want to go out and market ourselves and have people come in and not be happy. That’s step one. Then, I got involved in different local food events – chili cook-offs, chamber mixers, places where I could go have people sample our food. We still do them to this day. There are three chili cook-offs in the area. We provide the food and it’s a fundraiser for that organization. I provide the clam chowder for the Susanville Elks Lodge event. You get to meet people and network. We work with Blue Star Moms – an organization for women with children in the military. We do a fundraiser where if people come in with a flyer, I donate 15 percent of sales back to them. We’ve raised 7-to-8,000 for them in the last two years.
How effective are charitable efforts in growing your business?
Cadili: It’s very successful if you do it the right way. Donating and giving things to people are great. You’ll always have people who want a handout. That’s great and fine and dandy, but the most important thing is that you need to be there to promote yourself. It’s important to be there for the events. I always ask to be there to serve if we’re donating food. People will want to come back because they want to support you. A Lassen County judge told me once that there are a lot of restaurants about the same size as us, but if you put yourself out there and are present at these events, they’ll come to your restaurant to see you since you showed you cared. That’s the most important thing. You have to invest your time into going to events, going to organizations, presenting who you are to them and why you want to help.
What advice would you give to other franchisees who are just starting their businesses to best set themselves up for success on the local level?
Cadili: When you’re going to look at a location for where your franchise will be, you need to know the character of the area you’re getting into. Go to the chamber and find out who is there and what type of businesses and organizations are involved and important to the community. Learn the culture and what people there genuinely care about. What do people like to do in the community? That will give you ideas for how to get involved.