The Chick-fil-A Shared Table program bridges the gap between restaurants with surplus food and community organizations that serve those in need
Every day in Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country, Team Members prepare and serve thousands of pounds of food – Chicken Sandwiches, Salads, Chick-fil-A® Nuggets and more – to guests. In preparing these food items, Team Members seek to ensure a minimal amount of food goes to waste.
But, when there is surplus food, Chick-fil-A restaurants have the opportunity to donate to those in need through the Chick-fil-A Shared Table program.
What is Chick-fil-A Shared Table?
Chick-fil-A started the Chick-fil-A Shared Table program in 2012 in an effort to make use of surplus food in restaurants, while also meeting a need in the community. Today, more than 1,300 Chick-fil-A restaurants take part in the program, which continues to grow each year. With the help of Food Donation Connection, the program bridges the gap between Chick-fil-A franchise Operators and local agencies like shelters, soup kitchens and charities. After Chick-fil-A Team Members package and send the surplus food, the organizations then are able to incorporate into the meals they serve weekly.
To date, our partner organizations have served 9 million meals to those in need from food donated through the Chick-fil-A Shared Table program.
Meeting community needs
Wilson Yang, local franchise Operator of Chick-fil-A Yonge & Bloor in Toronto, Ontario, remembers the first time he visited Yonge Street Mission (YSM), a local organization providing support and assistance to those in need. The organization focused on responding to people’s needs and supporting their personal growth, something that resonated with his own personal leadership style and his experience with similar services as a child.
“I immediately knew I wanted to get involved,” Yang says. “Since we opened our restaurant in September of 2019, we’ve provided YSM with weekly food donations through Shared Table for one of their meal sites. The chicken we provide adds important protein to the meals they prepare for clients. During the pandemic, we’ve also been making 100 chicken sandwiches a week for another YSM meal site.”
Last year, Yang nominated Yonge Street Mission for a 2021 True Inspiration Awards™ grant and the organization received a $300,000 grant to further their mission in serving the Toronto community.
Reducing food waste
In Cicero, New York, Jimmer Szatkowski, local franchise Operator of Chick-fil-A Cicero joined the Chick-fil-A Shared Table program and incorporated composting at his restaurant to minimize food waste and help protect the environment.
“It sets a positive example for our Team Members who are very aware of the impact we are having on the planet, and it is a smart business decision,” says Szatkowski. “Any excess food we have is first donated to Shared Table to feed people in need, but that still leaves a lot of excess like produce scraps and tea bags that are ideal for composting.”
Szatkowski says that in 2020 alone, more than 72,000 pounds of food waste went to composting that would have previously gone to the landfill.
In addition to donating leftover food, Chick-fil-A restaurants also use a “cook less, more often” approach to reduce or eliminate the amount of food that goes unserved. This includes cooking chicken throughout the day and preparing salads frequently, so that restaurants are serving guests fresh food while also reducing food waste.
Local restaurants across the nation also take individual measures to lessen their negative impact on the environment. Like Szatkowski, a number of Chick-fil-A Operators have piloted back-of-house composting programs, including Operator Shane Todd in Athens, Georgia. In 2017, Todd implemented a composting program for several of his restaurants. By diverting his food scraps from the Athens landfill, Todd realized the operational simplicity and long-term sustainability benefits for the community and continues to compost food scraps from.
“Chick-fil-A’s Shared Table program is one of the tangible ways we can have a positive impact,” says Rodney Bullard, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A, Inc. “We’re honored to help Chick-fil-A Operators fight hunger in their local communities and minimize their environmental impact at the same time.”
Visit the Giving Back page to learn more about how Chick-fil-A, Inc. and restaurant Operators are serving our communities.