SOMERVILLE, NJ - Jack Scari, owner and operator of the McDonald's restaurant on Route 22, believes in supporting the community that supports him and his employees.
Good people doing good things deserve respect and thanks, according to Scari, none more than the doctors, nurses and medical personnel on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus (COVID-19), so he's doing what he has always done as a businessman and member of the community - he's giving back.
Scari has donated 1,000 Be Our Guest McDonald's meal cards to the employees at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset. The BOG cards can be redeemed at the restaurant for a free value meal - no purchase necessary. The cost of a value meals averages between $9.50 and $10, according to Scari. Many of the cards have already been used, Scari said.
"I have some relatives that are nurses and close friends in the medical profession, and we've been hearing so much about the challenges facing the front line healthcare workers, the hours, the shortages, the stress on their professional and personal lives. I knew we had to do something," Scari said.
Gifting the BOG cards was a natural - RWJUH/Somerset is a two-minute drive from the restaurant, and four of the other franchises he owns are no more than 10 minutes away.
"The cards will be a direct help for the staff and their families. It's a way for us to show our support," Scari said.
Community interaction is an integral part of business at the Somerville location and the other 16 McDonald's franchises in New Jersey owned in whole or in partnership with his brother Brian and father Anthony, who opened his frist franchise in 2001.
"Without a doubt," Scari said. "What goes around comes around."
The business builds good will by helping non-profits and good causes throughout the year.
"That's how we operate; it creates an environment where we are always working with our neighbors; sponsoring sports teams, arts programs, food donations, I don't even know where to start," Scari said.
Depending on the season, Scari, his father and brother employ between 700 and 1,000 workers, and though there has been a significant decrease in business because of social distancing, shutdowns and stay at home directives - there have been no layoffs.
Scari has chosen to close the lobby and shut down counter service to avoid close contact between his employees and customers. Drive-through service is what keeps the business operating right now.
"We are really focused on staff, their health and maintaining their hours as much as possible," Scari said.