By Elise Frankel
Restaurant nights, commonly known as dine and donate, have become a staple fundraiser at Alameda High. Relying on the kindness and cooperation of local restaurants, students form mutually beneficial relationships with these local businesses.
These fundraisers work when customers bring in a flier to a participating restaurant during a designated time and date, and the participating business will donate anywhere from 15 – 50% of that day’s profits to the students who arranged the restaurant night.
Some restaurants only require that diners mention the school to be eligible for the donation. In any event, the school later receives a check from the restaurant that is usually anywhere around $20-$400.
While this is mainly a leadership fundraiser, many clubs at Alameda High do it too. This trend has spread to other schools as well, including Encinal High as well as middle and elementary schools in town.
Class presidents at Alameda High have found that the most popular and successful restaurants include Lola’s Chicken Shack, Spin Pizza, Hang Ten, Trabocco, Dragon Rouge and Tomatina. According to the class presidents, less popular restaurants such as Yellowtail and East Ocean were not as successful for fundraisers perhaps due to higher price points on the menus there.
According to senior Nancy Ochoa, “restaurant nights are to raise money and fundraise so we can have fun events.” When asked how much money these fundraisers usually make Ochoa says, “it varies on what time it is what day it is and how much we advertised for it but usually it can vary from $20 to $200.”
In leadership most committees use dine and donate nights as a constant fundraiser, usually on a monthly basis. A lot of planning goes into making sure these nights are successful. On maintaining good relations with the businesses, Ochoa says, “we always talk to them months before. We check in with them to make sure it’s still on, and after we write them thank you notes.”
Laurie Tan, sophomore class president, uses restaurant nights as a way to make money for upcoming events such as their junior prom. “Restaurant nights are a great way to raise money. They’re easy and a lot of people go to them if you advertise well,” Tan says.
In a small town like Alameda, it can be mutually beneficial for these local restaurants to be generous because word spreads and as a result, they get more business. Other small Alameda businesses donate product as well for fundraisers such as auctions and as raffle prizes.
Dine and donate nights also give students the opportunity to be engaged with the community and learn how to interact in the business world.