How to Host a Fundraiser Night

With natural disasters and outbreaks occurring worldwide, many non-profit groups organize events to help or donate! As a restaurant or bar owner, you may get requests from local groups who want to host a fundraiser night at your venue. If you’re on the fence about hosting these types of benefit nights at your establishment, or you simply don't know how to, then take note of some of the following, and see if it's a good idea!

Why Host a Fundraiser Night?

First and foremost, hosting a fundraiser night is a great way for local businesses to enhance their image within the community. Most often, local PTA committees, schools, sports teams, and booster clubs will inquire about holding their event at your location, and by saying yes, you’ll show the locals that you are engaged with community interests. You can also use these fundraiser nights as a way to fill up your restaurant on a slow evening and to introduce new customers to your establishment who may not have come to your venue otherwise!

Decide How You’re Going to Donate

It’s very important to be upfront and clear with the leader of the group wanting to host their event at your venue. Be sure to decide in advance how much you can and are willing to donate. There are a few options you can consider.

  • Donate a certain percentage of the night’s total sales – this amount usually ranges between 10 -25%.
  • Donate all sales from a specific menu item, such as the daily special.
  • If you’re operating a bar, donate all sales received from a specialty cocktail that symbolizes the cause (i.e. pink lemonade and vodka for breast cancer research).

Pick a Day and Timeframe

When you host a fundraiser night at your event, you want to acknowledge the request of the group, but you also need to make sure you're not interrupting your establishment’s busiest night. Generally, restaurants allow these events to take place on one of their slower nights during the work week rather than a busy weekend. You also want to set a definite timeframe for sales to occur – usually, restaurant owners pick a four or five hour gap between 5 pm and 9 pm.

Other Considerations

After you’ve finalized a date and time, and you’ve determined how much you’ll be donating from each sale, it’s important to consider some of these other small details:

  • Will you be including or excluding alcohol sales and gratuities from the total you'll be taking a percentage of to donate?
  • Can customers only participate if they have a printed coupon or flyer?
  • Will you donate a portion of sales from all customers, or just from members of the group?
  • Will you allow special leaders or members of the group to be a celebrity bartender or server?

Whether you’re helping a group raise money for cancer research, collecting funds to support the earthquake victims in Nepal, or you’re trying to help your town’s little league team pay for their trip to national’s, hosting a fundraising night at your restaurant or bar is one of the best ways to enhance your image in the community eye! Not only will you bring in new customers, but you can increase the number of loyal guests that will return for dinner any other night of the week.

Posted in: Features | By Ashley Kufera

May 2015 WebstaurantStore Coupon Code Update

Outdoor dining season is upon us! Our May Coupon Code gives you extra discounts on many items used for outdoor dining and concessions, including beer tubs, disposable beer cups, and snow cone machines. Besides our sale items, don't forget to search our site for our everyday low prices on things like outdoor grills, patio heaters, catering disposables, and commercial outdoor furniture! May you have a very successful May!

Use Coupon Code: MAYSALE
Posted in: Concession Supplies | By Steven Ziegler

Spring Has Sprung: Prepare for Warm Weather with Outdoor Cooking and Outdoor Bars

With spring finally here — and summer coming up fast — it's the perfect time to open up your outside seating. Whether you want to move your kitchen outdoors for authentic-grilled foods, treat customers to sunny lunches on the patio, or host an energetic night with your porch bar, we have the solutions you need to help your business grow.

For the Chef

Outdoor Grilling

Cooking outdoors is a great way to bring the spirit of the season into your business. To help you make the most of the warm weather, we carry a range of different cooking equipment from all-in-one grills to specialized smoke houses. Simply take your grilling tools from your kitchen to the back of your property and fire up the equipment. Whether you're grilling burgers or smoking salmon, you can give customers the fresh-cooked flavors of the outdoors with these products.

For the Patio

Patio Table

We carry a huge range of chairs, tables, and other essential patio furniture to outfit any kind of business. We carry lounge chairs for country clubs, aluminum chairs for casual sit-downs, bar-height chairs for deck drinking areas, and even low tables for outdoor lounges, among dozens of other specialized products. Ensuring your customers are comfortable while they eat has never been easier than with our range of premium outdoor furniture.

For the Bar

Outdoor Bar

One of the biggest profit-makers in the foodservice industry, the outdoor bar is irresistible to customers looking for a fun evening. To make sure they have the best time — and that you make the most money — we offer dozens of different ways you can serve your customers their favorite drinks, from signature cocktails to beers on tap. The best part about outdoor bar equipment is that once you're done using it, you can just move it into storage to open up more dining space on your deck or patio.

Posted in: Trends | By Christopher Zook

The Pros and Cons of Branded Restaurant Merchandise

We often think of restaurant merchandise as only being available at large chain restaurants that appear all over the country. Nevertheless, more businesses are starting to create branded products for purchase, and small cafés or mom-and-pop establishments can also offer merchandise. If you're wondering whether or not this is a smart investment for your business, here are some of the pros and cons to selling restaurant merchandise.

Pros:

Advertises your restaurant – Restaurant merchandising promotes your business. Types of merchandise include t-shirts, coffee mugs, coasters, beer glasses, gift certificates, small bags of your home brew coffee beans or dry ingredients, baseball caps, stickers, cookbooks, tote bags, and anything else that features an impression of your company's logo. Gift certificates encourage return customers, and wearable items are literally walking billboards for your business. All of this raises awareness about your brand, products, and food.

Helps establish a following – People love belonging to niche groups and followings. Your products could be conversation starters with diehards who love your food or potential customers who haven't heard of your business before. You can also offer specials to people who come to your restaurant wearing a clothing item with your logo on it as a way to reward loyal patrons.

Profits – Another perk of selling merchandise is you'll earn extra money. Basically, you're getting paid for people carrying your company name and logo around with them! Check out the products and prices of your local competition's merchandise, and be sure to price competitively.

Cons:

Costs of production – Buying merchandise is another expense you'll need to budget for if you decide you want to try selling products. Some merchandise will be less expensive than others based on the materials used, the amount of customization you ask for, and how much you buy. You'll also need to pay an employee to sell your items, unless you offer them at your regular check-out counter.

Customers' desire for products – Sell products that have a market. Clothing usually has a market at any casual café or restaurant, but you need to understand your customers if you want any other items to sell. For example, selling champagne glasses at a coffee shop probably won't get you very far, so use items you're known for at your restaurant. A brewery should offer beer glasses, and a crepe café can sell French cookbooks.

Room to sell it – To sell your merchandise at your location, you need room to store it. This can be challenging if you have a very small business, but you have some options. For one, you can offer merchandise that's small enough to keep on your check-out counter or on a revolving rack. You can also sell items online or ask local stores and tourist gift shops to stock your products.

As always, you can ask other business owners about restaurant merchandising to get an idea of how much time and money is involved. Talk with customers, too, and find out what their interests are. If you want to find out how interested people are in your merchandise, try offering a specialty cup or t-shirt at a promotional event first. You could have a target market if a lot people are interested!

Posted in: Trends | By Melissa Walters
WEBstaurant TVDemonstrations, how-to's & descriptions ARTICLESDemonstrations, how-to's & descriptions BUYING GUIDESDemonstrations, how-to's & descriptions