Restaurants play a vital role in America’s cities and towns, from providing employment opportunities to fundraising for local nonprofits. With more than 10,800 restaurants across the United States, Inspire Brands is proud to serve as a source of economic advancement and investment in the thousands of communities we serve.
Notably, in 2019, Inspire and our brands made more than $5.7 billion in direct economic impact in the U.S. through restaurant development, taxes paid and wages paid to our team members. By opening nearly 200 restaurants across our brands, we created more than 5,000 new jobs around the country.
As we continue to build new restaurants, Inspire is committed to fostering great places to work and providing the base for a career that starts here, but can go anywhere. That’s why we’re investing in foundational programs like Brand Champ, a purpose-driven workshop designed to inspire and empower team members to reach their professional and personal goals. Since 2014, more than 380,000 team members across our brands have been able to experience the Brand Champ program.
We have a responsibility to operate our restaurants efficiently, which is why our brands continue to invest in sustainability efforts. In 2019, Buffalo Wild Wings eliminated more than 700 million pieces of paper and plastic from annual use thanks to in-sports bar changes. Arby’s company restaurants remained committed to environmental stewardship with a 21 percent reduction in total energy usage. Our brands continue to maintain high quality standards for the food they serve. For example, all Jimmy John’s restaurants bake fresh French bread in-house every day and serve it within four hours.
We’re also investing in the next generation through programs that ignite and nourish change for good. In 2019 alone, Inspire collectively raised more than $16 million to support youth-related and other philanthropic causes. The Arby’s Foundation continued its efforts with No Kid Hungry, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Junior Achievement in addition to awarding 250 local grants to non-profits across the country. Through its partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Buffalo Wild Wings Foundation assisted thousands of youth in developing life-enhancing skills, enabling more than 125,000 girls to play team sports. SONIC’s Limeades for Learning program once again partnered with DonorsChoose.org to provide funds needed for essential education materials and innovative learning techniques. Over the past year, SONIC was able to enhance the education of more than 860,000 students.
As one of the largest restaurant companies in the United States, Inspire is uniquely positioned to make a real difference. That starts at the restaurant level, with our team members and our franchisees, and it’s ingrained in everything we do. It’s our honor to be able to help make dreams come true, bring teams together to support causes that matter and fuel the future of our country.
We are so proud of the positive impact our restaurants made in 2019 and look forward to sharing our impact in the communities we serve in the years to come.