How to Host a Fundraiser Night in Your Restaurant

As a restaurant or bar owner, you may get requests from local groups who want to host a fundraiser night at your venue. Hosting a fundraiser night can be an excellent opportunity for your restaurant or bar to give back to the community and create some regular customers. If you're on the fence about hosting these types of benefit nights at your establishment, then take note of some of the following tips, and see if hosting a fundraiser night would be a good idea for your restaurant or bar.

Why Host a Fundraiser Night?

Hosting a fundraiser night in your bar or restaurant is a big commitment. Not only do you have to set aside a certain amount of time for the event, but you may also have to create special menu items and advertise your event. But, the pros of holding events in your space outweigh the cons. Here are a few reasons why you should host a fundraiser night in your restaurant or bar:

  • You can interact with your community. Partnering up with local organizations like schools, PTA groups, sports teams, and booster clubs allows you to build brand recognition and loyalty in your area.
  • It can bring in new business. Hosting a fundraiser can be a great way to advertise your establishment and bring in new clientele that have never visited.
  • It can boost your profits in the short and long term. While you are donating a portion of your profits toward a charity or cause, typically you will see increased traffic on fundraiser nights, so you can still increase your short-term profits. Plus, by hosting an event, you're creating goodwill with your community and convincing customers to come back, helping to increase your profits in the long term.

How to Plan a Fundraiser Night

Once you have decided to host a fundraiser night and have picked an organization to work with, there are some other things to consider. First, you'll need to make sure you're stocked with the necessary supplies to host a large event. Then, you'll have to decide how you're going to donate the proceeds, and how to advertise your event.

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. While you want to donate a fair portion of the proceeds to your cause, you need to make sure that hosting a fundraiser night is fiscally viable for your establishment. When deciding how much you want to donate and how you will divide the earnings, there are a few options you can consider:


1. Donate a certain percentage of the night's total sales. Typically this amount ranges between 10 and 25%. Donating a percentage is the most convenient option, as you can simply offer your regular menu items and then donate a portion of your profits for the night toward the charity or cause of your choice. While this is the easiest option, it also depends on a sizeable turnout to be a profitable idea.

2. Create a new menu item and donate all sales from that specific dish. This option gives you an opportunity to show off your creativity. You can also customize the recipe to reflect the organization or cause that you're supporting, such as Cajun food for hurricane relief in the Gulf region or pink lemonade and vodka to support breast cancer research. Creating a drink special is an excellent idea because each guest can order more than one, whereas with appetizers and main dishes, each person typically only orders one.

3. Offer a prix fixe menu at different price points. For example, you can offer an affordable option that includes a sandwich, side dish, and a drink and a more expensive option that includes an appetizer, entree, and cocktail. This is an appealing choice because it makes customers with varying budgets feel welcome in your establishment. It also gives guests an option on how much they want to donate to the cause. Depending on your menu items and which meal package your guests choose, this option can have a large profit margin.

Choose a Time for Your Event

When you host a fundraiser night at your establishment, you want to acknowledge the request of the group, but you need to make sure you're not interrupting your busiest night. Generally, you'll want to host a fundraiser night on one of the slower days of the work week. That way, you're not missing out on potential sales, and you're bringing in more business on a typically slow night. You'll also want to set a timeframe for your event, so you don't interrupt your regular business too much. The ideal timeframe would be four or five hours in the evening, like from 5pm to 9pm.

How to Advertise Your Fundraiser Night

Once you've made plans for your fundraiser night, you need to get the word out so that people show up to your event. Here are a few tips on how to advertise your fundraiser night:

Use Social Media

Your best tool for free advertising is social media. You can take advantage of your establishment's various social media accounts to notify the community of your upcoming event. Additionally, people who see your posts on social media can share them, helping amplify your reach.

Use Print Advertising

Old fashioned advertising methods like printing flyers work wonders, as well, especially for engaging with your community that is not connected with you via social media. To make your flyers stand out from the pack, use bright and colorful paper with big, bold lettering that will grab people's attention. You can also use door hangers to advertise in nearby neighborhoods.

Offer Incentives

Another way to bring customers to your event is to offer an incentive or discount. For example, you can mail out coupons for the event that are good for a free appetizer or drink. While this will cause you to lose some money upfront, the increased traffic and orders will make up for the loss. Additionally, you can sell tickets ahead of time for your event. Selling tickets for your event makes it feel more exclusive and creates a sense of urgency. Plus, if someone buys a ticket, they are more likely to attend the actual event and make purchases.

After your event has ended, make sure to post on social media how much money your fundraiser raised. You can also thank your guests for coming and donating their time and money, leaving them with a good feeling and encouraging them to become repeat customers. Hosting a fundraiser night is an excellent option for restaurants and bars, as you can increase your short-term profits and cultivate long-term customers while supporting a worthy cause.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.
External Link

You are about to leave the security of

We are not responsible for the privacy policy or any content, links or software, or any consequences from your access to or use of the technologies, websites, information and programs made available on this new site.

Do you want to proceed?

Webstaurant TVProduct demonstrations, how-to's, & descriptions ArticlesIn-depth information and tips for running a successful restaurant Buying GuidesTools to help you find the perfect product for your business