A local restaurant has made big gains in the fight against hunger.
The Cantina Fresh Mex and Tequila Bar in Biltmore Village has instituted an exciting program of “donating” extra side dishes to local food charities.
“We gave folks the option that if they chose to donate one of those sides that we would donate the equivalent value of the side to MANNA [Food bank],” says Sherrye Coggiola, owner of the Cantina.
Just prior to their rebranding in March, Coggiola noted that “There were a number of things that became very apparent to us. We give very very large portions. Four out of five people, literally, would take home a to-go box.” She adds, “Well, we’re green, so our to-go box literally, costs me 75 cents per. That’s a pretty significant issue, when it’s not a to-go order.”
To trim down on waste and to cut costs, they came up with a creative solution. “The beauty of donating $1.99 per side, is that MANNA can give up to three meals for a dollar.”
Each of the meal items on the menu comes with two sides, Coggiola explains. If a customer decides to donate the side, “essentially we are giving six meals for that one side that’s donated and all of those meals stay here locally,” she explained noting that they specifically chose the charities that aided families locally.
Customers entering the Cantina can immediately see the sign by the bar and patio doors that provide details on how much money has been raised from customers donating their side items. “We’ve raised $6186 this quarter; last quarter and year to date is $14,560, so that equates to 43,558 meals in our community.”
“The beauty of it for us is that we are able to feed our guests and they’re able to help us feed the community,” she said, concluding, “We also just do it because that’s what we think is the right thing to do to make a difference in our community.”
The Cantina Fresh Mex and Tequila Bar is located at 10 Biltmore Plaza, in Historic Biltmore Village.