Many things must be considered when choosing the form your fundraiser should take. Is yours a local cause or a global concern? Are you interested in generating funds for a hometown athletic club or in raising donations for an ill member of the community? One sure way to entice donors who may be less-than-eager to give up a Saturday morning
for your school’s 5K is “meal appeal.”

The Benefits of Restaurant Fundraisers

Most of us can remember a time when we purchased a roll of wrapping paper or a candle that we really could do without, only to support a friend. On the other hand, many of us have also experienced how it feels to pass around a catalog of overpriced trinkets at work in the hopes that people with kids and causes of their own will support our school’s PTA. Asking your friends and family to do something they do anyway—eat a meal out—is something you can feel good about. Restaurant fundraisers can be held at fast-food chains, family-owned eateries, or more formal, sit-down locations. As organizer, you have the option of choosing a restaurant within the price range of your potential supporters. Additionally, you will receive as part of your fundraising package a dedicated staff member who serves to help you coordinate your event and assists in troubleshooting.

Types of Restaurant Fundraisers

Many restaurant chains such as Burger King offer a set timeframe within which supporters who have purchased tickets or vouchers dine. More formal restaurants may offer a fixed menu during lunch or dinner. Another popular choice is a special event, such as Applebee’s early morning pancake breakfast or McDonald’s McTeacher’s Day. The latter is
a fun and unique event geared toward raising funds for schools in which the teachers and school staff serve patrons behind the counter at McDonald’s. Like McDonald’s, Chuck E. Cheese’s is another restaurant that offers a fundraising option for a specific type of charity—those benefitting children up to the age of twelve. In all cases a percentage of pre-tax, pre-gratuity sales, usually from 10-20%, goes to your cause.

How to Organize a Restaurant Fundraiser

Visit the website of the restaurant where you’d like to host your function. If they have a fundraising option, it will be listed as a separate tab. In most cases, scheduling your event and inviting guests may be done through the website, but sometimes it will be necessary to
arrange your event through the restaurant manager or staff member dedicated to fundraisers. Take advantage of all the tools offered through the restaurant’s website. Most will have an Evite option, so you can send invitations via email to family and friends. Many offer graphics to use for printing fliers and even templates for printing
your own event tickets. Advertise your event well in advance by placing ads in newsletters, posting fliers and creating a website. Keep communication open with your restaurant’s contact person and follow their advice for hosting a success full event.