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Monday, Aug 8, 2022
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Habit Hamburgers to Health Staff

As part of an initiative to increase community service in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Habit Burger Grill is hosting over a dozen events at local vaccination sites to feed frontline workers. “This initiative means the world to us at The Habit. The fact that so many people’s lives have been affected by COVID-19, we want to do our part by giving back to those who have put their lives on the line to help others,” Russ Bendel, chief executive of Santa Barbara-based Habit Burger Grill, said in a press release. “It’s more than just feeding the crew, it’s about connection and recognizing those on the frontlines.” The chain restaurant’s fleet of catering vehicles has partnered with the venues of local vaccination sites, including the old Anthem headquarters on Canoga Avenue in Woodland Hills and the San Fernando Recreation Park and Aquatic Center, to provide free, hot meals to frontline workers. There are currently five more events scheduled over the next two weeks in Southern California. Over the course of the pandemic, the Habit has provided more than 30,000 meals to first responders and health care professionals in clinics, hospitals and emergency triage centers. “We’ve gotten tremendous response from people that are doing incredible work,” Bendel said in an interview with the Business Journal. “And just, you know, it’s amazing what a cheeseburger and french fries and Coca-Cola will do for someone in the middle of the day.”The Habit Burger Grill isn’t the only restaurant that has donated to frontline workers during the pandemic. Other nearby eateries and food banks have set up events and regular donations, including a free hot meal each Wednesday at the Khalsa Care Foundation in Pacoima and donations to the Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital from the new Chick-Fil-A in Glendale. “If we can do things like this, it doesn’t change our business overnight. And people certainly recognize that we’re giving for the sake of giving; we’re not trying to gain from it,” Bendel said. “It has caught on to the core of who we are, on being an active participant in the communities in which we do business.”The Habit Burger Grill is a franchise operation with more than 25 locations in the Los Angeles and Ventura County areas and more than 250 in 10 states and internationally. Los Angeles County locations include Burbank, Glendale, Northridge and Van Nuys and the Ventura County locations include Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard and two in Simi Valley. The limited-service restaurants run anywhere between 2,000 to 2,8000 square feet on average and some include drive-thru service.

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert is a Los Angeles-based reporter covering retail, hospitality and philanthropy for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. In addition to her current beat, she is particularly interested in criminal justice topics, health and science stories and investigative journalism. She received her AA in Humanities from Moorpark College in 2016, her BA in Communication from Cal Lutheran University in 2019 and followed it up with a MA in Specialized Journalism from USC in the summer of 2020. Through her work, Katherine aspires to help strengthen the fragile trust between members of the media and the public.
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