Loren Dunsworth knows how to run a restaurant. As owner of Lola’s In West Hollywood, she also knows how to make her establishment an integral part of the community.
Every December for the past five years, Loren has been offering holiday Martinis, with all the proceeds going to charity. This year the One Drop Foundation, a non-government organization that fights poverty by providing access to water and sanitation in developing countries, will receive donations along with the Amanda Foundation, which is dedicated to rescuing dogs and cats from the pounds in Los Angeles.
The two Martinis, named after each foundation, are $18. Perhaps, a little expensive, but with 100% of the proceeds going to charity, it's worth it, Dunsworth says. “We make them more expensive but people will buy one. Sometimes they will even buy a round for the table,” she says, knowing that it’s for a good cause.
She admits that the promotion does support the restaurant, but it’s more than that. “I found even in a bad economy, when tons of restaurants aren’t doing great, we need to be appreciative.” And the holiday season brings that out in people. “It’s a special time of year. It’s important to give back,” Dunsworth explains. “We’re not giving thousands of thousands of dollars to charities but it just brings attention to things that are important. It gives money for the charity, who is grateful for the exposure.”
It’s unusual to give 100% of the money being made from the Martinis to charity, says Dunsworth. “We’re not taking out the costs for making the Martini. That’s very unusual. That’s important for people to know. We’re not keeping any of that money.” That means the cost to make the Martini comes out of the bar, but it's worth it for Dunsowrth, who quips that the long-term benefit “maybe gets me a spot in heaven.”
Instead, the promotion, like the month of December, is about giving and genuinely raising money for a good cause. “Charities are the first to suffer in the economy," she says. With the Amanda Foundation, "they’ve had quite a struggle this year,” so it’s good to bring the charity to people’s attention.
“Most people’s hearts swell in December, and they feel charitable—and all warm and fuzzy about things. It’s a good time to … give what you can. And if takes a Martini to do that I’m willing to give up the (money made on the) Martini.”