How Quaker Steak & Lube Managers Get Creative when Giving Back
Exceptional restaurant management teams are always willing to go the extra mile for their customers. But, at Quaker Steak & Lube® in Wheeling, West Virginia, the managers’ dedication to their guests rises far above good customer service.
In fact, just recently, general manager Ozzie Hyde and marketing manager Christine Thomas found themselves faced with an opportunity that required quick thinking and jumping into action in order to help out Wheeling’s first responders.
“Recently, a local factory that’s the third largest business in our town caught on fire,” recalled Christine. “The temperature was nearly 20 degrees below zero that day, so we anticipated it being a really long day for the first responders. As soon as we found out about the fire, Ozzie got on the line and started cooking food, and I started making calls to see how we could help.”
“We really wanted to pitch in and provide for the first responders by doing what we do best,” said Ozzie.
Christine called other local businesses to coordinate efforts and get additional supplies. Then, she drove down to the site, with gallons of coffee and dozens of meals in tow.
“The police had a pretty wide barricade around the building and weren’t letting people through, but as soon as they saw Christine coming with food, they lifted up the police tape and let her right in,” Ozzie said. “In the days and weeks after the fire, we had a lot of those first responders coming into the restaurant to thank us for helping out. They were out there keeping our home town safe for hours. It was the least we could do to give them some good food and a hot cup of coffee.”
This instance is not an anomaly for the Wheeling managers — it’s just the latest example of their selfless commitment to giving back.
Raising Money and Spirits with Community Events
Over the years, Christine and Ozzie have jumped at every opportunity to help out in their community — from feeding veterans and first responders on Thanksgiving, to hosting fundraisers and school benefits, to participating in charity runs, to sponsoring local baseball teams — there are dozens of ways the Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant gives back.
Christine and Ozzie also regularly coordinate dine-to-donate events at the Wheeling Quaker Steak & Lube for non-profit groups, where a percentage of food sales from invited guests is donated back to the charity to help raise funds.
Since 2012, however, one of the restaurant’s biggest fundraisers, Hines & Friends (Hope for Hines), has centered on supporting children diagnosed with cancer. It all started when a family of restaurant regulars was hit with the devastating news that their two-year-old son, Hines, had stage IV neuroblastoma.
“We knew Hines and his family for years. When they told us about Hines’ diagnosis, right away we decided we had to do something,” Ozzie said.
Ozzie and Christine planned a dine-to-donate to help raise money to offset the cost of Hines’ treatment, but they wanted to do even more.
“We spent months planning a huge fundraiser. We got a lot of other local businesses involved, 32 to be exact. Some of them set up vendor tables and some gave product and service donations. We created a really fun event for all ages with games, auctions and raffles. Then, we contacted our local news outlets to publicize the event and so many people came out to donate and support the family. It was amazing — we were able to donate $20,000 toward Hines’ treatment,” Ozzie said. “It felt so great to be able to give Hines and his family that money.”
Getting More from Giving Back
Hines no longer shows any evidence of disease, and after two years of good news, his family asked Christine and Ozzie to give donations to other child cancer patients.
“The family was so appreciative, but after Hines showed no more evidence of disease, they came to us and said, ‘We appreciate everything you’ve done, but there are other families that could really benefit more from these donations,’” Ozzie said. “We’re in a very close-knit community, and we were happy to have those contacts and be able to help out even more children. That’s when we decided to call the event ‘Hines and Friends.’”
The sixth annual Hines and Friends event will be held in 2019 at Quaker Steak & Lube, and Ozzie and Christine will continue to head up the fundraising event. In addition to their supportive community, the two managers are also grateful to be able to do this type of work. “We’re lucky we work for a company that lets us do what we do, in terms of giving back to the community,” Christine said. “The Quaker Steak & Lube management team values community involvement and support, which has been the key to our success for these events.”
Though their location is in a smaller town, the Wheeling restaurant has placed near the top in sales for the Quaker Steak & Lube system for the past few years. Ozzie and Christine attribute this to how much people like to support businesses that support them back.
“While the sales numbers are important, it’s important for franchisors to know that the Quaker Steak & Lube culture is all about helping out wherever we can, because that’s what we love to do,” said Ozzie.
To learn more about franchise opportunities with Quaker Steak & Lube, fill out our franchise application or call 1-877-695-8231.