Across the globe, eating a fabulous meal can make a difference. From the Bonham in Edinburgh to Le Quartier Francais in the South African winelands, from The Drake in Brighton and One Aldwych in London to the Steenberg and the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town. Hundreds of restaurants, some linked to hotels but most of them not, are supporting organizations that contribute a small portion of the revenue from every meal to a charity.
In all the countries except South Africa, where Streetsmart runs throughout the year, the program is limited to the season before Christmas and is aimed at gathering funds for charities in the cities where the money has been collected or specifically earmarked charities. In the UK’s Streetsmart program, diners have a note on their menus saying that a pound is being added to their bill, although it can be removed upon request. In South Africa, the money is spent specifically on street children. In America, Streetsmart exists in San Francisco, where, at restaurants like Medjool and Slanted Door, diners are asked to donate $3 in an envelope provided with their check. There is also a Streetsmart in Australia, where 250 restaurants are now members of the program.
Says Gordon Ramsay, whose Maze restaurants are members in the UK , “Streetsmart has become part of Christmas for us. It’s everyone’s chance to do the right thing at the right time with only the slightest nudge.”
Since 1998 Britons have given 4.2 million pounds which has been sent to ‘reputable charities’ in the respective cities where Streetsmart restaurants are found. In Australia, $1.18 million has been made and distributed to dozens of projects since 2003.