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T.L. Cannon Companies Supports Local Organizations With More Than $2.45 Million; Receives State And National Recognition For Community Programs

BUFFALO, N.Y., April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- T.L. Cannon Companies, the franchisee for 60 Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in upstate NY and Connecticut, provided more than $2.45 million in fundraising and in-kind support to community nonprofits and organizations in 2012.

In recognition of its community-based programs, Applebee's Services Inc. presented T.L. Cannon with the 2012 "Neighbor of the Year" award, which is awarded annually to one franchise group out of 40 in the nation for exemplary community service. This is the second time in six years that T.L. Cannon received the coveted award.

In addition to receiving national recognition, T.L. Cannon also earned the New York State Restaurant Association's 2012 "Neighbor of the Year" award. This is the eighth consecutive year that the franchisee earned the award for outstanding service in communities throughout New York State.

"It's an honor to be recognized as 'Neighbor of the Year,' and it's something that we take very seriously," said Matt Fairbairn, CEO, T.L. Cannon Companies. "Our goal is to give back to the communities where we operate by being a good neighbor. From schools to nonprofits, we're proud to offer support to these worthy organizations year after year."

Applebee's supported groups, causes, schools and nonprofits in the following ways in 2012:
  • Flapjack Fundraisers: Offered exclusively to schools, youth sports or youth service organizations, more than 2,200 pancake breakfast fundraisers were held at Applebee's restaurants in 2012. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, Applebee's restaurant locations welcomed groups for pancakes and bacon. Applebee's provided the venue, food and beverages for the breakfasts, while the organizations sold tickets and volunteered at the events. Local schools and youth organizations holding Flapjack Fundraisers in 2012 raised more than $1.9 million for their programs.
  • Law and Orders/Athletes and Applebee's for Special Olympics: Throughout 2012, staff at Applebee's restaurants teamed up with local law enforcement officers and student athletes to greet and hold doors for guests, serve food and beverages and clear tables. Applebee's patrons tipped the officers and students with proceeds benefitting Special Olympics athletes across New York State and Connecticut. More than $39,000 was raised from both fundraising events in 2012.
  • Tip-A-Firefighter: Applebee's restaurants in Lancaster and Camillus hosted events where local firemen and women traded in their uniforms to serve customers. Fire personnel greeted and held doors for guests, served food and beverages and cleared tables. Applebee's patrons had the option to "tip" them with proceeds benefitting the Lancaster Fire Department Explorer Program and the Camillus Volunteer Fire Department. More than $1,000 was raised from Tip-A-Firefighter fundraising events in 2012.
  • Make-A-Wish Fundraisers: Various fundraisers were held at Applebee's restaurants to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters in New York State and Connecticut. From hosting "wish dinners" to the sale of Make-A-Wish star magnets to decor auctions and other events, more than $193,000 was committed to wish kids.
  • Dining to Donate: More than 360 nonprofit organizations held Dining to Donate fundraising events at Applebee's restaurants. Organizations booked their events at and distributed Applebee's vouchers to their supporters prior to the event. Ten percent of guest checks that accompanied event vouchers were donated back to the charitable nonprofit organizations. Churches, college clubs and other nonprofits took part in Dining to Donate events, raising more than $25,000 in 2012.

Applebee's also supports education for younger children through the following donation programs:  
  • School Restaurant Tours: Open to elementary grades K-5, schools can bring students in for a tour of Applebee's. While at the restaurant, students learn about job duties, teamwork and the importance of a clean work environment. Students, chaperones and teachers can enjoy a price-fixed lunch, and all students receive a "Junior Applebuddy" certificate with a coupon for a free kid's meal for their next visit.
  • A is for Applebee's: An achievement award program, teachers can honor their students' achievements, whether for academics, attitude or effort. Teachers can order reward cards for a free kid's meal at Applebee's. In 2012, more than 10,000 reward cards were donated, worth nearly $11,000.
  • Bookworm Reading Club: Open to students 12 and younger, children can record the books they read on a "Bookworm Club" card. Once a student reads 10 books, they receive a free kid's meal with the purchase of an adult meal. Children also receive a detachable bookmark. Requests must be made by local schools or libraries. In 2012, more than 250,000 kid's meals were provided to local students, with a value of nearly $280,000. As an extension of its annual reading-focused rewards program, this summer, T.L. Cannon also partnered with the Salvation Army to encourage kids to 'give and get' an appetite for reading. In total, the restaurant chain donated one ton of books to less fortunate kids.
  • Cool Credit: An achievement program for students 13-18, Cool Credit allows participating schools to reward deserving students with a free appetizer at Applebee's. Schools can award cards to students based on their own criteria – from leadership and academics to sportsmanship and attendance. In 2012, schools awarded over 5,000 award cards to students, for a total value of more than $5,000.

"I also want to give a heartfelt thanks to the managers, wait staff, hostesses and bartenders who work in our restaurants every day. They execute hundreds of fundraisers each year and really are the ones who deserve all the credit. Our people are one of our greatest assets," Fairbairn said.

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