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Together, we helped Keep Hawaii Cooking.

November 03, 2020

Together, we helped Keep Hawaii Cooking.

When COVID-19 required the state to be under stay-at-home orders, like many of you, we at CPB felt a strong need to take action and help our communities stay positive as the crisis shifted what we knew as normal. Friends, family members and neighbors were coping with furloughs and layoffs so we knew how important it was to help residents stretch their dollars.

The restaurant industry helps drive our economy. In fact, the National Restaurant Association estimates that Hawaii’s restaurant and food service provides jobs and builds careers for 15% of our residents (approximately 98,900 people). Because food is also such a special aspect of our culture, we were passionate about supporting our local restaurants through this time, and offering some normalcy by sharing a meal with you.

A $615,000 cash infusion.  

With your enthusiastic support of Keep Hawaii Cooking, we were able to pump more than $600,000 into our restaurant industry with $300,000 of that amount being reimbursed to local diners from CPB Foundation. Using the power of social media, here’s how you helped us with this contribution.

  • Split the bill launched on March 27. CPB Foundation reimbursed 50% (up to $100 per transaction) of your food bill for takeout food purchases from participating restaurants. The promotion went viral with 100,000 website views on launch day and our donation goal of $100,000 was rapidly achieved in three days.

  • Split the bill was extended on March 30 allowing us to re-up our donation commitment with the new goal of sharing 10,000 meals with the community. This goal was again met in a three day period and increased the donation to $300,000 to the local community.

    In those few days, we connected with more than 14,400 Instagram followers and saw more than 8,000 food photos posted with the hashtag #keephawaiicooking. Although the promotion has ended, the #keephawaiicooking legacy lives on. It’s now one of the most relevant hashtags to follow for Hawaii food news such as restaurants reopening, updated hours, and dining specials.

  • Mahalo Meals, also powered by CPB Foundation, followed split the bill and was a way to refuel Hawaii’s hardworking frontline heroes. We asked for your help to nominate hospital workers or emergency first responders for a delivery of Mahalo Meals to their entire department. You responded by submitting 1,500 names! And, you shared heartfelt, often personal stories about how your nominated hero works to keep our communities healthy and safe.

    In addition to the Mahalo Meals, 50 residents who nominated a frontline hero each received a $50 restaurant gift card. CPB Foundation provided a $1,000 grant to the 50 restaurants to sponsor 30 nutritious grab and go meals at approximately $20 each.

  • Hungry to Help, the last phase of the program, highlighted local restaurants that Keep Hawaii Cooking and fed. From June 12 to August 30, we shared restaurant tidbits on social media. We asked entrants to comment and tag three friends on the post for the chance to win between one to four $50 gift cards to the featured restaurant. This effort gave over $1,200 back to the community, and provided additional social media exposure for the featured restaurants.

Keep Hawaii Cooking provided a boost of hope that helped us navigate the start of the pandemic. Mahalo for supporting and for helping us spread word of the promotion.

What’s next?

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing some businesses to adjust their operations and in some cases, even threatening their chance of survival. Helping change this course is as simple as choosing to shop from local businesses.

If you’re a Hawaii business owner, we encourage you to become a member of the Rising Tide community. It’s free! will serve as a hub for everything you need to know or do to run your business in the state. As a membership perk, your business will be listed in the small business directory, which we’ll promote to the public through advertising and social media. More importantly, we’ll manage this effort at no cost to you.

For consumers, consider reviewing the businesses listed in the directory as a starting point to finding the goods and services that you need.

Mahalo for your support! By working together, we can help our economy survive and thrive.