Franchise News Release: Louisville, CO - (Nov-24-2003)

Rock Bottom Restaurants Announces Unique Holiday Gift Card Program to Help Fight Hunger, Homelessness Nationwide

Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc., recently recognized for focusing on philanthropy efforts in their local communities, announced a new community-based approach for their seventh Annual Holiday Gift Card Program. This program allows Restaurant employees to choose charities in their communities to help fight hunger and homelessness where Rock Bottom employees live and work nationwide.

"What is unique about this company-wide gift card program is that, for the first time, the restaurants themselves choose local charities that they have a passion for," said Lisa Pedersen, Executive Director of the Rock Bottom Foundation, the non-profit arm of the company dedicated to combating hunger and homelessness. "We embrace a strong commitment to give back to the communities that support our restaurants, and the Holiday Gift Card Program is one of many community service efforts that help us accomplish that goal."

The Holiday Gift Card Program runs through the end of December 2003, with 10 percent of sales donated to local charities and the Rock Bottom Foundation. Cards can be purchased in any denomination and are available at any Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. location (Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Old Chicago, ChopHouse & Brewery, Walnut Brewery, and SingSing).

Since its formation in 2001, the Rock Bottom Foundation has donated nearly $2 million to charitable causes, and that accomplishment has not gone unrecognized. In fact, in 2002, the National Restaurant Association awarded Rock Bottom Restaurants with "The Good Neighbor Award" for its charitable contributions and general philanthropic culture. This year, Rock Bottom Restaurants received "The Heart of the Workplace Award" by The People Report, the foremost provider of human resource benchmarks and best people practices for the foodservice industry.

Ned Lidvall, CEO of Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc., said the charitable efforts benefit the community, Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. and the employees who participate. "Our Foundation reinforces our mission, vision and values, helping make philanthropy an integral part of all the Rock Bottom brands. When our teammates work together on a community service project that benefits a worthy cause, they gain an experience that enhances their job satisfaction and loyalty to our company."

In fact, Lidvall attributes the growth of the Rock Bottom Foundation during the past two years in large part to employee support throughout the company. This year alone, employees contributed more than $75,000 to the company's Hunger and Homelessness and HOPE funds. In addition, more than $650,000 in direct cash donations, $250,000 in-kind donations and thousands of hours of volunteer support have been donated by both employees and the public.

"We believe doing good is doing well, and we hope to inspire others in the industry to continue to give back to their communities," Lidvall added.

The cornerstone of Rock Bottom Foundation's philanthropic efforts is the Miracle on #19th Street, an annual holiday dinner for the homeless hosted by the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery. For the Christmas Day event, which has been held for the past seven years, guests are chauffeured on luxury buses from area shelters. More than just meals, each visitor receives clothing, shoes, basic supplies and toiletry items, while raising awareness of hunger and homelessness. The children's gifts include toys, books, winter coats, gloves, shoes and an opportunity to visit with Santa.

Additional Miracle events will be held this year in Boulder, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Washington D.C. and Omaha. In all, an estimated 6,000 people will receive food and clothing.

About Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc.

Based in Louisville, CO, Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. owns and operates 87 restaurants throughout the United States - 53 "Old Chicago" restaurants and 34 brewery restaurants operating under the names "Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery," "ChopHouse & Brewery" and "Walnut Brewery." The company also owns and operates SingSing, a dueling piano bar concept with three locations.

Since its privatization in August 1999, 25 new restaurants have been added and average annual sales are approximately $250 million. The company also recently entered into a partnership with Rockies Brewing Company, Colorado's first microbrewery, and began Franchising its Old Chicago concept with 7 Franchises currently open and 28 in the development pipeline.

All of Rock Bottom's restaurants are casual dining establishments featuring, high quality, moderately priced food and a distinctive selection of craft brewed and specialty beers served in a comfortable and entertaining atmosphere.


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