Local Restaurants – Fueling Our Community One Bite At A Time 

By: Josh Cross, Interim CEO & President of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce

Feeling hungry? I certainly am for small, local restaurants! Not many people know that our local dining establishments play a significant role in creating a vibrant community. We’re talking more than just providing tasty food (They definitely do that!). According to the Small Business Economic Impact Study by American Express, two-thirds of every dollar spent in local eateries and businesses stays in the community. That means that the cash you use for dining locally is money that our restaurants will put back into our community, supporting jobs, non-profits, and donation drives, while building a robust community.  
Let’s take a look at how local restaurants support jobs in Atascadero. Local families own local restaurants, so right off the bat, you’re supporting a family when enjoying that fresh, juicy burger. It doesn’t stop there; most eateries hire a team ranging from high schoolers looking for their first job up through experienced adults with culinary or hospitality education.  Community investment continues when local restaurants source their food and ingredients from local farmers. This helps keep small farms productive, creates jobs, and improves our economy.  That one tasty burger that you ordered will help countless families in the community. To top it off, it tastes great too!  
Our community restaurants support non-profits and donation drives. According to SCORE, small business owners donate 250% more than larger businesses to local non-profits and community causes. That means that basket of fries you just ordered to go with your burger will help fund local charities, youth organizations, first-responder organizations, aid and service groups, and food pantries. You’re inadvertently giving back, just by having a good meal – now that’s a win-win!  
Finally, our small, local restaurants help build and support a strong sense of community. Graduations, anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, business partnerships, and friendships are made over a good meal. Food brings people together, period. We celebrate happy memories over a meal, and then we create new memories with the ones we’re with. Our local eateries are social hubs that enhance our quality of life. They help us maintain and strengthen the relationships we have with one another.  
Together, let’s make one of our 2021 resolutions to help support our local, small restaurants. After all, their food is not only fueling us; it’s fueling our community. 

American Express. (2018, November 13). Small Business Economic Impact Study. Business Wire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181113005356/en/ 

SCORE. (2019, April 8). Infographic: Small Business Charitable Giving – Big Impact on Local. https://www.score.org/resource/infographic-small-business-charitable-giving-big-impact-local-communities 

Josh Cross

Interim President & CEO of the Atascadero Chamber | Josh Cross

Josh Cross is a longtime Central Coast local, having grown up right here in Atascadero. He has a strong knowledge of governmental and community issues, in addition to economic development. Previously he worked as the Director of Economic Development for the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, and has always been passionate about the incredible work Chambers can do for their community.