CLEARWATER BEACH, FL—Jayden Callahan is striving to make a difference with every bite. As the director of F&B at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, she launched “You Dine, We Donate,” a program at the on-site Asian/American fusion restaurant, Ocean Hai, to support local charities. All net proceeds from food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases by diners seated at Table 31 are given to a different local charity selected each month.
“The program is the perfect way for Ocean Hai and our guests to make a positive impact and give back to the local community. This is a program that comes from our hearts. We created this initiative because it’s something we truly believe in,” said Callahan. “You Dine, We Donate is specific to the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, but we would love to eventually make it a Wyndham Grand brand standard. The inspiration came from a former general manager I worked with in a previous role. The program became a huge success there, and I loved the idea so much, I’ve implemented it at four other hotel properties where I’ve worked since then.”
Callahan shared that there aren’t specific requirements to drive fundraising, making the effort all the more important and accessible to everyone. In addition, there was a strong effort to collaborate and organize staff to make it a success.
“People are dining at Table 31 because they want to give back to the community in a genuine and real way,” she said. “We asked our team members if they were involved with any organizations or if there are charitable causes that are special to them. From there, we built a list, which, to be honest, was quite long! There are so many organizations we want to give back to, so we’re excited about the opportunity to do that as the program continues for years to come.”
Callahan and her team communicated and executed the effort through key stakeholders, including the executive committee and sales & marketing team. There were brainstorming sessions to narrow down the organizations where there was a special connection in the community.
“We’re always asking our associates to share any other organizations that are special to them, so we can add them to our future programs. Once the program was fully created, we reached out to the organizations to get their full support in partnering with us. This was not a situation where we selected charities and simply wrote a check,” she said. “We wanted to make sure these organizations were aligned with us in our goal to improve the community where we live. We also enlisted the help our public relations team to help us promote this program and communicated the program to guests who were checking in through different touchpoints, including in-room and messaging throughout the property.”
Hearing stories of how the donations have helped the lives of people or a community makes it worthwhile, explained Callahan. She’s also buoyed by the opportunity to work for a company that encourages giving back and making a positive impact on our community.
“It’s why we do what we do,” she said. “The Humane Society of Pinellas County was the recipient of our first table, and through our donation, we were able to save the lives of three animals. Just by guests dining at Table 31, we were able to provide care and medical services to these loving animals.”
Up next for Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach is to continue the charitable program and donate proceeds from Table 31 to organizations such as Eckerd Youth, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Hooked on Hope, and many others throughout the year.
“At Wyndham Worldwide, our culture of service sets us apart. We use our global footprint and our talent to act as positive agents of change. Our strong commitment to supporting our communities is just who we are and is part of our core values,” she said. “We know part of what helps drive our success is our “Count on Me!” service culture and our 38,000 associates who embrace our values and are committed to giving 110% to our customers, our partners and each other.”