Web Exclusive: Paying it Forward


By Nicole Di Tomasso

Ryan Moreno, CEO and co-founder of Joseph Richard Group (JRG), a collection of hospitality concepts, says businesses of all sizes should be paying it forward. As important as corporate social responsibility is for the community, it’s equally valuable for a company.

Six years ago, Moreno participated in Covenant House’s Sleep Out Executive Edition to show solidarity and raise funds for homeless youth in the Metro Vancouver area. On any given night, there are between 700 and 800 youth sleeping on the streets. Deeply impacted by this experience, and with roughly the same number of company employees, Moreno envisioned a JRG edition for ongoing support. A year later, JRG planned its first re-brand event, One Night Out, in hopes of one day bringing together 700 to 800 people and raising $1 million.

Over the last several years, JRG has continued to work towards its goal, encouraging friends, family and other businesses to participate in One Night Out. Some businesses have even spawned their own versions of the event. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, people participated from home and opted to sleep out in their backyard or on their driveway. Last year, with some signs of pandemic improvement, roughly 100 people came together in-person while others participated at home.

“We’re looking to resume our One Night Out event entirely in-person again, and we won’t stop until we get 700 to 800 people,” says Moreno.

So far, JRG has raised more than $580,000 in support of six charitable partners, including Covenant House, Youth Unlimited, Variety – The Children’s Charity, City Dream Centre, Phoenix Society and Mackie’s Place.

While this community initiative has been impactful personally, Moreno says JRG has experienced an increase in customer loyalty and overall positive sentiment. Establishing community and delivering good customer service has improved customer relationships with JRG, creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved.

“Every community is different, but we always challenge the leadership at our locations to be involved in the surrounding community. It’s the local community that’s going to help build your business. We want to engage with our communities and show our appreciation.”

Operating more than 20 businesses, such as Steveston Hotel, Blank Canvas Catering, Glass House Estate Winery, Two Pals Brewing Co., Oak & Thorne, The Henry and more, JRG places significant importance on attention to detail to consistently deliver great customer service.

“Attention to detail is at the centre of all the questions we ask and decisions we make, from exterior design to the type of cutlery we use. It’s ingrained in our company culture, and it guides everything that we do,” says Moreno. “From the guests’ perspective, hopefully they see the intention and passion behind their overall experience. It’s something you can’t get at home.” Moreno continues, “We’ve only been able to grow our company because of the communities we operate in. They have been supporting us and we’re so grateful. The minute any business forgets they exist because of their guests, they’re in trouble. As a business, it’s our job and responsibility to support the people who support us.”

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.