We closed last night to regular business in order to fill up the dining room and kitchen with a prix fixe (fixed price) meal. It is a fund-raiser for a community heritage group wherein they get almost all the profits, and half the staff volunteer. It was a total diversion from pizza and wings people genrally expect, but we are gathering more and more recognition for this. The Calico Banquet is in its third annual presentation and follows a chrsitmas event oput on duing the day by wife, me and volunteer staff (for the community and not as a marketing ploy).
Our menu was
Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza
Steamed Shrimp w/ pomegranate gastrique
CHOICE OF ENTREE
Pan Roasted Duck Boobie with Cranberry Port Demi-Glace
Tuscan Roasted Pork Loin with lemon-garlic stvffing
The same pizza guys and I worked the afternoon to prepare the meal. If it was already part of what we normally do in a week, it would have been so much simpler, but the purchasing, prep, staging, handling, cooking, and all are just so foreign to the pizza setup we had. The new kitchen ROCKED in its ease of handling the situation. I need to consider a couple of work triangle setups and table locations when we get our dining room actually going, but 35 guests got a good meal and lots of seasonal cheer last night.
For those looking for a different sort of event and a change of pace for your cooking and wait staff . . . I can recommend this sort of thing very highly. One day we will even have staff and facilites set up to manage doing it without losing a night of revenue
We have tried it both ways, and may go back to Sundays. It all depends on how next year shakes out and the event plan. Staffing is the largest consideration. We did it on Sunday and could only get a couple people to come in as they plan their lives on Sundays, and we are lothe to ask them to volunteer for that added day . . . and paying them is always another cost on the fund-raiser.
We are looking at other ways to get it to work for us. I do think you are right to pick a day already closed . . . . and we do that for other events during the year . . .
I think you missed the part (that I didn’t mention in my post) that my wife and I are the organization doing the fundraiser as well. It’s a sort of multiple personality fest in Grantville.
You guys just don’t get how small our town really is, and how far we are from the next town of “civilization” in both distance and reputation/perception. Andy and Opie Taylor don’t live here, but they stop in to get gas every now and again when they are looking for a small town to go to.
We are really the only ones in town doing any consistent and professional promoting of any sort. We have the added challenge of promoting our town and marketplace on top of marketing the shop. The other businesses in town are not what you would call sophisticated business people. the biggest other marketing trend this year was several merchants revolting when given a citation for blocking public sidewalks saying that it is “how people know we are open”. The 50 to 60 cars that come down main street each day are not clambering to shop there . . . .
There is a real social building project here. We are separated from the nearest town/civilization by more than just a long distance . . . there is a reputation/perception gulf that we are bridging as well. We are making progress, but we are multi-tasking fools with not a lot of spare cash for more employees or volunteers to pull off more projects. We’re getting better, just not quite over that hump yet.
The biggest benefit to doing this sort of event is that we may get some more print and a picture or two in the paper showing that our town is not full of goobs, and we have social events worth hearing about. That road will lead to our next restaurant concept/dining room next year.