Using Grill’d as a platform to give back.
Samuel Diggins is a Restaurant Manager Trainer at Grill’d Manuka in Canberra. But it was only a few years ago that he was touring Australia and New Zealand as the drummer in his melodic hardcore band, Purity. Samuel has worked at 5 different restaurants in Canberra over the past 5 years and has become embedded in the local community through Grill’d Local Matters program.
What has been a memorable experience of Local matters at Grill’d?
One of the first Local Matters activations I ran was at the Grill’d Belconnen restaurant, helping a local school fundraise for their Japan trip. They came in and decorated the store, dressed up in traditional Japanese garments and did a little performance for us and everyone in the store. They were so thankful and engaged with Local Matters.
The other one would be at Christmas when we partnered with five different community groups around Canberra. The groups included homeless shelters and a food pantry.
We sent out invitations for free dinners for anyone in need. We also organised a food drive in the restaurant for the month of December, and customers, our team, and the community donated food and non-perishables for people in need.
On Christmas Eve we had a big dinner with everyone who had an invitation. We gave out free burgers and met all these amazing people in our community who have fallen on hard times. At the end of the night everyone went home with a little gift pack full of food, clothes, and toiletries.
I was able to walk around and have some really great conversations with people over a meal. The human connection part of it was just as big of a moment for them as the food or donations. It was really fulfilling for me but also a really great thing Grill’d did for the community.
Was there anyone in particular that you really connected with?
At that Christmas Eve dinner, I met Chris who came from the Early Morning Centre. He had a job until 3 days prior, when he was let go and that really shot him in the foot. He had his family coming down for Christmas but he was stressed because he didn’t have any money to make Christmas lunch for them. So we loaded him up with a bunch of food and supplies for the Christmas period. It was really special. He cried a little bit on my shoulder. It was super lovely.
What has Local Matters done for you?
Local Matters has pushed the meaning of community into my personal life. It’s given me a broader view of what everybody else in the community is dealing with and not just thinking of myself and my own issues. Working at Grill’d has driven me to understand a little bit more. Every time I have a group I always take the time to sit down and get to know them and understand what they are going through and how we can be supportive. Local Matters has given me a better sense of community in my everyday life.
How often do you do activations?
We try to do them once a month, whether that’s in-store or going out to volunteer. We went out with Trash Gather not long ago and picked up rubbish around Canberra for the day. We’re not just fundraising but also volunteering.
Why is Grill’d such a great place to work?
If you want to do something meaningful within the hospitality space, Grill’d is incredible. It goes beyond food and customer service. It makes me feel like I have a bigger purpose. I can give back to the community and use the platform for good. We are Local Matters down to the core.
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