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Conducting a successful Spaghetti Dinner?

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  • #16
    We found the names of the food distributers by a couple methods. One was looking them up as theri ditribution trucks are plainly viisible so we knew who to look for (Shamrock, Sysco, Alliance) we also live in a small town and checked the locla restaruants and they got us the names and contacts.

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    • #17
      "What restaurants would be willing to donate?"

      Just about any one I've ever approached...

      It doesn't have to be food -- it can be simple things like paper products. We got Chili's to donate "kids cups" for one of our events, and McDonalds has been known to do that as well. Likewise with napkins, plasticware, etc.

      We had a Scout with a family member who was an area manager for Applebee's, and wound up getting some of the food staples donated for our Blue and Gold, plus other non-food items like metal pans for holding the food between the prep time and serving time, ladles/serving spoons, napkins, etc. That was a relationship we worked hard to hold onto for a number of years!

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      • #18
        We have received many donations from different sources and have purchased the items we need for Friday. I'll let everyone know what was donated and the overal success of our dinner later this weekend.

        The only problem I have now is that when I have free time (ie: sitting around and looking at Scouter.com) I start to feel very nervous about the event and its details. Any tips to calm my nerves?

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        • #19
          Some things for future years. We always gave each youth would sold tickets for $5 a dollar of the sale for his scout account and the scouts could earn additional monies if they helped in the work crews. We also went to the local printer and they would make up placemats with the troop name and number and pictures of some of the outings we did that year. We wouuld by a ream of 11 x 17 paper and they would print them out for free. As the people were eating they could see what we had been doing that year.
          David

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          • #20
            Okay, so the dinner happened Friday night. It was a good learning experience.

            We have an adult leader who has been going to a local community college to earn an associate degree in cooking. I asked him to cook. I think we both learned important lessons inregards to precooking things and assigning specific duties to those that help him during the dinner in the kitchen.

            Many different businesses donated items for the dinner itself. Dean's Milk, Panera Bread, a local meat locker, two local bakerys, Olive Garden, and a local business ($125 for advertising during our dinner) our past Scoutmaster worked for. So most of our expenses were covered by these donations.

            We did the placemat idea listed above this post. I think many people liked it. We included wording that talked about joining Boy Scouts.

            Our Silent Auction did not go as well as I would have hoped. Most of our items had only 1 or 2 bids on them. We had three items with multiple bids. We had to lower our minimum bids on a few items. I think that next year I may look for some bigger items.

            We did have people wait up to an hour and a half to eat. That had to do with not having food ready at 6pm when the doors opened.

            During the next week or two I'm going to be creating a list of necessary improvements and changes.

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            • #21
              I know how you feel about learning a few lessons. We just had our first all you can eat Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser which I was coordinating and we had a few glitches but overall it went very well.

              We created tickets too but it was $7/individual $20/family(2adults+children under 18). We sold around 90 tickets 50/40 indiv/family and had about 130 people attend the event. The ticket sales generated about $1500 including about $250 in direct donations. It also helped we were able to print a buy one get one free mini-golf game coupon on the back from a local miniature golf course.

              We had a dinner with Spaghetti, meat sauce, meatless sauce, salad, garlic bread, drink and simple desserts like brownies and rice crispie treats. The meat, bread and simple desserts were all donated. The cost of the rest of the food was around $150. After the dinner we had a live dessert auction with 14 donated desserts. That generated another $450.

              We decked out the tables with linens and real napkins donated by a person who works for a linen outfit. We also used real plates and silverware and had a dishwashing crew to help reduce costs. We decked the hall with printed 8x11 pictures of the scouts and their outings. Thier ribbons, and numerous plaques showing off numerous years of patches, and pictures of events, parades, etc.... The place which was also donated by a local church including tables and chairs, really looked great.

              We did a tremendous amount of preparation of the food earlier that day which is a must. So all we really had to do was warm the bread and cook the noodles. The toughest issue we had was the noodles. We did things buffet line style with a serving cart warmers and we only had two pots for cooking noodles. Once we got behind on the noodles to the warmers we could not catch up with the line. So at least twice we had to tell the line of people we were out and it will be 10 minutes.

              But other than that and a few scouts initially reluctant to sell tickets, everything went rather well IMO for our first time. We netted about $1800 for our troop which was well over our goal of $1100. We(the whole troop)also learned a lot from this first event and next year we should be able to make it a lot smoother and I might even get to eat dinner next time.

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              • #22
                This won't help now since the dinner is over, but here is my tip for a spaghetti dinner. Pre-cook the noodles the day before. You cook them until 1-2 minutes of being ready. Drain, rinse in cook water to stop cooking and put in large baggies. Then when you are ready to cook the noodles, it takes much less time.

                We did spaghetti at blue and gold last year. I had a parent who was a former chef who really poo-poo-ed me doing this. But I had read that this is what restaurants do. It turns out it was good they were precooked. The large industrial pots would come to a boil, but as soon as you lifted the lid, it would not boil. But since the noodles were within 1 minute of doneness, the water was hot enough to cook them through. So if not for precooking, we would have had a disaster on our hands. Thank goodness for the internet and the scouters who come before us!

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                • #23
                  I love reviving an old thread!

                  FWIW ... my troop did spaghetti dinners for years, offering both dine-in and take-out options. Take-outs were extremely popular for workplaces, firefighters, etc. We had heavy-duty styrofoam clamshell boxes. Some adult leaders did deliveries to folks who couldn't make it out to pick them up.

                  If hotdesk is still around - have you continued doing spaghetti dinners? How'd they go in years since?

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