Wayne Kostroski founder of Taste of the NFL comes to TRA Marketplace

Jun 20

Wayne Kostroski, 2010 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year, is the founder of the Taste of the NFL, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and dollars for hunger relief. Now entering its 24th year, the Taste of the NFL has distributed more than $15 million for local and national food banks across America. Wayne will speak at TRA Marketplace in Houston on the TIPS Stage this Sunday about giving back to your community and how it translates to better business.

We interviewed Wayne about what attendees can expect to hear from him this year.

Q: What are three takeaways you'd like attendees to come away with?

W: First, I believe that as restaurateurs and owners, we should do our best to give as we go. Houston restaurants in particular will have several amazing opportunities to help their communities at this year's Super Bowl. Secondly, all proceeds from fundraising with Taste of the NFL at this year's Super Bowl will benefit the Houston Food Bank. Finally, I have a number of tips to help folks donate to this year's event.

Q: What can restaurant owners and managers do better, in terms of philanthropy?

W: I think the restaurant industry in particular, is an industry where we can help our communities a great deal. It's understandable that you can't help out all the time, but knowing where to start for a lot of restaurants is a bigger issue than not having the resources. If you're a restauranteur and you are participating or hosting a philanthropic initiative, then tell people about it. Find a good signage company, for instance, or share with leaders in the community. Something else that's important to understand is that philanthropy is a two-way street between your restaurant and your neighbors. Helping the community around you helps customers become more familiar with you and can help your restaurants have better results. You can highly influence restaurant participation if you have active guests and show a genuine interest in the community.

Q: Explain the Taste of the NFL Mission and what lessons restaurateurs can take away from it.  

W: I've lived in Minnesota for 35 years and this initiative started with the interest in the Super Bowl.  I knew we had an opportunity to make the event more than just a game, and I really wanted to help the community. It's a cold part of the country and we needed to make it very unique for the board to approve our proposal. I knew a lot of local chefs who were involved with feeding people in need and the one night event eventually turned out to become an amazing season-long initiative. Also, restaurateurs can help make people aware of community issues and needs, and make a significant, positive impact. Talking to 10 people or 500 people is a great thing for improving your community, and the larger role you take, the more it will help your business in the long run. People want to go where the food is good the environment is good, but most importantly, the guest wants to know that you invested in the community as well.

Catch Wayne's presentation 'Giving is Good Business' on Sunday, June 26 at 3:30pm on the TIPS Stage.



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