School Night Fundraiser

Here’s what I’m contemplating: Setting up one Monday & Tuesday (dining room is dead those nights anyway) for an elementary school fundraiser. I would:

  1. Get several members of the PTA to come in one night the week before to go through the call list of parents to inform them of the event and take reservations.

  2. Get a couple PTA members to volunteer time during the event to bus & set tables & wash dishes.

  3. Donate 50% of dining room sales those 2 evenings to the school.

If enough parents can be booked to turn the tables 3.5 times each night, the school should get around $2,000. Their contribution would be maybe 45 - 50 hours of manpower. My food and labor is (almost) covered; my benefit would be that A) a lot of new people would be trying my product, B) developing a solid relationship with the school, and C) creating awareness - I’m in a major market & after 11+ years I still get people saying “I never heard of you guys before”, and D) creating good will with the parents, giving them just one more reason to choose me over one of the majors.

If successful, there are 3 other elementary schools in my trade area that I’d do the same thing with; ultimately, I’d like to do each school twice a year, once in September & once in January.

I guess my question is, does anyone do something similar, and how can I make this as successful as possible. Also, we’ve never done reservations before, how long should we count on having people stay before the table becomes available again (say I seat one table at 4:30 - when should I reserve that table for another party)? Also, how to handle people who want to use coupons? I’m thinking that if some one spends, say, $20 and uses a $2 off coupon, the school’s cut on that order would be $8, rather than $10 … or would that be too much of a nightmare to track?

I think its a great idea, but I would post a sign, and when the PTA sends out their news letter stating, in order for the “group” to raise the best funds we ask that you reserve your coupons for another night.
Thank you

50% off is a big bite. We plan to have “spirit nights”, like every Tue where we donate 10% of all sales to that team/organization. We will have a poster space for the team or organization to post information about itself. This will be an ongoing community support kind of thing. Hopefully it will build up good community relations as well as raise a few bucks for those organizations. May only be $100 or so, but it beats them washing cars.

Love that idea - nicely phrased, too. Dewar, I agree that 50% is a big bite, but I’ve tried the 10% thing on Monday & Tuesday nights to little effect. Maybe not marketing it effectively, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Guys, I really think the economy is going to tighten up drastically in the next year or so - given that, I think it’s going to be critical to position ourselves as being “good citizens” in the community. The earlier and the better this is done, the less we will have to get involved in price wars to attract dwindling dollars. Remember Kyle? I think that, while the rest of us may be more well equipped to weather the economic storm coming, I personally would not like to put that supposition to the test.