Services Provided by Food Donation Connection

We realize that operating a quality food service organization takes time and commitment, so we make the food donation Harvest Program our full-time job so it does not have to be your full-time job. As a result of our coordination, the donation process requires minimal effort by operations personnel, and restaurant team members embrace the program. Our support team is ready to handle all coordination and administration for your food recovery program. This includes providing the ongoing follow-up and monitoring necessary for successful implementation and growth.

The food service organizations that have implemented a national Harvest Program have found it well worth their effort. Not only has the program benefited the donor financially, but also it has benefited their communities and most importantly provided those in need with good food that otherwise would have been wasted.

Food Donation Connection currently coordinates Harvest Programs for Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, A&W, NPC International, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Café, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Famous Dave's, Auntie Anne's, Rock Bottom Breweries, Old Chicago, Chop House, Cracker Barrel and Walnut Brewery. We have several other major restaurant chains currently in the development stage of forming Harvest Programs.

When coordinating restaurant prepared food donations we provide the following services:

  • Assist in developing safe handling standards for food donations
  • Identify qualified food recovery programs
  • Provide Manager Guides and donation logs for each restaurant
  • Provide food storage pans, transport containers for agencies, and donation labels
  • Support managers with a toll-free telephone number for problems or questions
  • Track donations, providing toll-free fax number, pre-paid envelopes, or e-logs
  • Produce period or monthly, and annual reports for operations and tax departments

When coordinating national warehouse and distribution center donations we provide the following services:

  • Develop a process to complement and improve any existing donation program
  • Select an agency from our nationwide network of qualified organizations
  • Coordinate logistics between multiple warehouses and distribution centers
  • Communicate with the agency to ensure timely pick up
  • Document the donation with donation logs that meet IRS requirements
  • Provide rapid receipting and reporting to properly record donations
  • Supply product description, amount, as well as the calculated tax deduction

FDC’s donation process furnishes detailed information that enables donors to maximize their tax savings. Past experience has shown that the key to a successful donation program is in handling the type of details and challenges addressed by the above services. These services are made possible through the processes and information technology systems FDC has developed and customized for each Harvest Program partner.

If you are interested in the services of Food Donation Connection please contact us at the toll free number at the top of this page or email us at ContactUs@foodtodonate.comAn overview pdf version of this information is available here.

Additional information on the services provided by Food Donation Connection:

Program Design & Implementation
Assistance in developing Quality & Handling Standards
Identify pickup Agencies for all restaurant locations
Serve as central point of contact for all questions & issues
Coordinate all reporting
Provide ongoing problem solving and log follow-up
Provide food safety training materials
Assist in identifying and purchasing transport containers

Program Design

A food donation program is simple to operate at the restaurant level when key points are followed.

  • Standardized operating and food safety standards need to be developed and implemented. This includes a list of authorized food products for donation, methods of storing food and other quality and handling procedures.
  • Food Rescue Programs or Agencies to pick-up the surplus food need to be selected.
  • A method for tracking donations needs to be put in place.
  • To encourage ongoing donations restaurant managers should receive an economic incentive on their P&L for surplus food donations. This incentive would come from a portion of the tax savings earned for the donation. An ongoing problem resolution and follow-up system is needed to handle food pick-up issues, donation tracking, etc.

Food Donation Connection has designed and implemented food recovery Harvest Programs for food service companies with a variety of food products. The experience gained over the past fifteen years gives us the ability to design and implement a Harvest Program for your company without distracting your food service operators from their core responsibility of serving their customers.

Program Implementation

It is critical that the implementation of a food recovery program be accomplished without distracting food service operators from their primary responsibility of serving their customer. To meet the needs of the food service operator, food recovery program guidelines must be simple and well documented. It is also helpful when food recovery groups have experience handling perishable food donations.

When problems arise they must be dealt with quickly as a food service operator has little time for distractions from their core business.

Food Donation Connection has experience in implementing both local and national programs. Our data base of over 4,000 food recovery groups and agencies helps us link restaurants with agencies capable of handling various donor requirements. Problems experienced over the past fifteen years also help us react to the needs of both the donor and agency as they get to know each other during the critical implementation period.

Common Design and Implementation Process

The following outlines common steps involved with implementing a food recovery program when using Food Donation Connection as your program administrator.

  • Food Donation Connection will meet with management to -
  • Understand your company's philosophy and goals for program
  • Present service and experience of Food Donation Connection
  • Discuss product quality and logistic issues
  • Discuss documentation required to support business goals
  • Outline management's operational incentives to support and drive program
  • Food Donation Connection and your personnel review and document process to support quality, financial and administrative requirements.
  • Food Donation Connection to coordinate locations interested in donating with existing agency distribution network.

  • Expand to other locations.
  • Ongoing monitoring, reporting and growth...

Developing Food Safety Standards

Prior to implementing a food recovery program, Food Safety Standards need to be developed for the storage and handling of the surplus food to be donated. Standards should be established for both the restaurant and agency receiving the food.

Key information documented in Standards include:

  • Type of food to be donated
  • Temperature requirements
  • Type of storage containers
  • Description of storage process
  • Shelf lives
  • Transportation system
  • Employee and Agency responsibilities

All procedures are developed working with your company personnel. Procedures are also approved by your company.

Food Donation Connection has experience in developing procedures and will work closely with your company personnel to ensure standards are consistent with your companies established policies and procedures in both substance and format.

Identifying Pick-up Agencies

Because Food Donation Connection has been involved in the coordination of surplus food between restaurants and agencies for over fifteen years, a large data base of agencies equipped to handle surplus perishable food has been developed. This data base not only includes over 4,000 agencies capable of handling surplus food, it also includes the knowledge and experience of agencies not capable or not interested in handling surplus food.

Storage and handling of surplus perishable foods requires specific knowledge, resources and attention that non-perishable food does not. Therefore it is important that agencies handling perishable food understand both physical equipment requirements and food safety guidelines.

When Food Donation Connection services are enlisted, we take responsibility for finding agencies for all your restaurants interested in donating. We also take responsibility for monitoring activity of pick-up agencies and replacing them if they are unable to handle pick-up and distribution of surplus food properly.

When agencies agree to be a part of the food recovery program, there are materials that explain the program and their responsibilities. We will work with your company on putting these materials together. Then the agency will meet with the restaurant manager to establish ongoing pick-up days and times. Timing of pick-ups is established so as to not interfere with restaurant busy times and to fit in with your operational staff schedule. Pick-ups are then to take place each week at these times unless agreed to between restaurant and agency.

Food Donation Connection provides an 800 number for both restaurant and agency to call for questions or issues.

Central Point of Contact for All Questions and Issues

Food Donation Connection will handle all questions and address all issues for your food recovery program. This is primarily accomplished through the establishment of a toll free 800 number given to all restaurants and agencies.

Typical issues handled include questions on; food pick-up failures, agency contact information, P&L credits, request for logs, food safety, etc. Food Donation Connection puts a priority on addressing these questions and issues quickly.

Because Food Donation Connection has been responsible for administering the largest perishable prepared food recovery programs in the country, we are experienced and qualified for dealing with all issues that arise in such programs.

We feel that a prompt response to questions and issues is required to keep problems and distractions to a minimum for both the store operators and agencies feeding the needy. Because Food Donation Connection is totally focused on the success of your program we are able to provide both the experience and services needed.

Other tasks Food Donation Connection handles as the central program administrator include:

  • Track and report all product donations
  • Ongoing follow-up and monitoring necessary for successful implementation and growth
  • Provide Restaurant Manager Guide
  • Periodic mailings detailing operating standards

Coordinate Reporting

While the reporting of donations is required to support tax benefits, reporting is also necessary for what we consider to be the key driver of success to any Harvest Program – providing a financial incentive to the donating restaurant.

It has been our experience that it is the financial incentive placed on the restaurant P&L (which impacts the Restaurant Managers' bonus) that provides the primary driver to consistently donate surplus food. Without benefit at this level it is just too easy to throw away the food rather than donate it. The financial incentive is based on pounds donated and the economic impact of bonus paid is funded through tax savings. Our system provides the rapid receipting and reporting needed to supply you with the tax savings on a period or monthly basis. This enables the tax benefit to be placed on the profit center P&L in the same month or period that the donation log was received.

Food Donation Connection has developed systems capable of handling all your reporting needs for supporting tax benefit and internal reporting requirements. The key components of the reporting system are:

  • Harvest Donation Log
  • Monthly or period report of pounds donations by store
  • Monthly or period tax savings of donations by store
  • Monthly or period P&L credit for donations by store
  • Monthly or period summary of donations and P&L credit by region and store
  • Annual report of donations for tax return
  • Other special reports requested

Food Donation Connection will also take responsibility for supplying restaurants and agencies with donation logs and answering any questions related to its completion. To facilitate regular reporting of donations, Food Donation Connection also provides restaurants and agencies with prepaid postage envelopes and makes a toll free fax line available.

As part of our ongoing system of monitoring, restaurants with an active agency that have not reported donations on a regular basis are also contacted to determine if an issue needs resolved or simply remind the restaurant or agency to send in information on donations.

Ongoing Problem Solving and Log Follow-up

The ongoing success of the Harvest Program requires consistent monitoring to identify un-communicated problems the restaurant or agency might be experiencing. This follow-up is necessary to ensure restaurants receive benefits of participating in the Harvest Program and to eliminate any distractions and problems that might occur.

In addition to promptly handling all calls from restaurants and agencies, follow-up calls are initiated by Food Donation Connection’s Harvest Support Center to restaurant or agencies who are participating but not currently reporting donations. These calls can surface problems the restaurant is experiencing with an agency or simply serve as a reminder to send in the donation log so that the store can receive credit for their donation.

Issues identified during these calls are documented to capture a history, facilitate handling of future issues and to ensure issues are resolved in a timely manner. Our tracking system also allows us to set a date for review to ensure issues have been resolved as expected. This allows us to develop information by store and agency to ensure program procedures related to food safety are followed and to ensure each store receives credit for the effort they have put into saving and donating food.

Training Materials

Food Donation Connection works with both donor and agency personnel to ensure food safe handling practices are in place. Training material prepared by the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association (ServSafe®) is one good source of training materials.

Assist in Sourcing Transportation Containers

Food Donation Connection uses Cambro® food safe containers in the Harvest Programs. We use Camwear® food pans, Camcarrier® transport containers and transport pouches.

Food Donation Connection will assist in identifying food safe storage and transportation containers that fit the needs of the donor and food recovery programs' food recovery process.