Restaurant Week is one of the events that happen in our community that are not traditional corporate social responsibility or community engagement activities. They don't involve writing a check. They don't involve working with a nonprofit. But they do still build community and benefit our businesses.
Other events that the Reston Chamber sponsors that fall in this category include Taste of Reston and Oktoberfest.
During these events, individuals and teams from businesses around the area come together to make the events successful.
During Restaurant Week, restaurants provide special meal offerings that allow diners to try new places and allow chefs to play with new dishes.
During Taste of Reston and Oktoberfest, volunteers get to know others in the area. Organizations that sponsor teams get to know others within the workplace better.
Those of us who attend get to have fun and new experiences.
What do these events have to do with community engagement and corporate social responsibility?
These events create a sense of place for Reston. Rather than just being another suburb of a big city, Reston has its own feel and identity. This makes Reston an attractive place to live, work, and play, as the tag line says. That increases property values for all of us, which is nice, but more importantly it means we see each other as neighbours and are more willing to help make our community be a wonderful place. We are more likely to get involved in helping others, in making the public areas around us clean and beautiful, and in taking care of our own spaces.
What do these events have to do with business?
During Restaurant Week, businesses can entice those who have not tried their offerings to come in the door and experience what they have to offer. As Carla Macauley of Morton's said, while Morton's Reston is already a busy place, during Restaurant Week more people come in for lunch. This is both good for Morton's and good for the community.
During Taste of Reston and Oktoberfest, businesses have the opportunity to build teams and a sense of community within their own organizations by encouraging their employees to work together as a team during the events. They also have the opportunity to showcase their own offerings by having booths or tables during the event.
So, although we don't think of events like the one we're having this week, Northern Virginia Restaurant week, as traditional corporate social responsibility or community engagement events, they do quite a bit for our community while benefitting our businesses. We have to remember that once we know our desired outcome - in this case, community engagement - we can use multiple possible ways to achieve it.
So next time you participate in one of these events, know the good you are doing for all of us here in Reston. And when you think about how you want to engage in the community, consider all the possibilities.
Leanne Cusumano Roque, PCC, helps people and organizations consistently do and be what is most important to them. She loves to know what it is you want that you are not getting now and then help you achieve it. She works with senior leaders, scientists, attorneys, and entrepreneurs. Her clients complete coaching, coach training, and coach mentoring with new, effective ways of interacting with the world. You can reach her at Shine Like the Sun Coaching & Coach Training at 703-297-2224 and shinelikethesun.com.