Fundraising with Restaurant Nights

Fundraisers for Small Groups

Many restaurants offer nonprofit groups a popular way to fundraise with “Restaurant Night” fundraisers.

Here’s how it works: The restaurant gives your group a percentage of the sales on a designated night for all the customers that your organization brings to their business. Most of the time the restaurant will limit your available nights to a week night- usually one their slow nights.

A restaurant night fundraiser requires virtually no planning and very little investment from your group; and that’s why it’s one of the ideal types of fundraisers for small groups. If the restaurant requires a flyer or coupon to be presented for your group to receive credit, it will often print those up themselves.

Fundraising with Restaurant Nights

Why does a restaurant participate and even encourage this type of fundraiser?

  • It makes the restaurant look good. Giving back to the community enhances their corporate image.
  • It fills the restaurant on a slow night.
  • It introduces people to the restaurant that might not visit otherwise.

What kinds of restaurants hold restaurants night fundraisers? Almost every kind:

  • ApplebeesFundraising with Restaurant Nights
  • Arby’s
  • Baja Fresh
  • Big Boy
  • Black-Eyed Pea
  • Boston Market
  • Burger King
  • Carl Jr’s
  • Chevy’s Mexican Restaurants
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Chipotle
  • Chili’s
  • CiCi’s Pizza
  • Culvers
  • Fresh Choice
  • Friendly’s
  • Fudruckers
  • Jack-in-the-Box
  • Jersey Mike’s
  • KFC
  • La salsa Fresh Mexican Grill
  • Loco’s Deli
  • Maggie Moo’s
  • Max & Erma’s
  • McAlister’s Deli
  • McDonalds
  • Mongolian BBQ
  • O’Charley’s
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Panera Bread
  • Papa Murphy’s
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pizzeria Uno
  • Ponderosa
  • Rio Bravo
  • Sonic
  • Sweet Tomatoes
  • Subway
  • Taco Cabana
  • Tortuga’s
  • TRU
  • Wendy’s
  • Zany Brainy

Be aware that although many chain and franchise restaurants are available for fundraising, the decision to do so is up to the individual restaurant operator. And terms of the fundraiser will vary from restaurant to restaurant, even within the same chain and city sometimes. Some may make you present a coupon, tell the waitress in advance, drop receipts in a box, or order only certain things on the menu to qualify.

Many locally owned restaurants are also eager to host your restaurant night fundraiser too. Don’t forget to add them to your potential list of restaurants to call on. They often will offer you a better deal than the chains and franchisees.

Any restaurant that you, or a member of your nonprofit group, have a personal connection to via the owner, operator, manager, or worker also may offer you a better deal.

How to hold a successful restaurant night fundraiser

The secret to having a successful restaurant night fundraiser rests with you. You must advertise the event to your members and make sure they show up. Ensure a large turnout by asking your members to encourage fam

Fundraising with Restaurant Nightsily and friends to attend the restaurant night too.

Many restaurants will allow your members to work behind the counter during your restaurant night. This can be especially effective for schools when the familiar faces of teachers, staff, and administrators are encouraging your members to spend more by upgrading to a special meal or add a desert to their order.

Sometimes the restaurant will allow you to set up an area to inform the public of your cause and solicit donations via a donation box by the cash register. A popular method is to ask customers to donate the change they receive back from their meal purchase to your cause.

What to look for when soliciting restaurants for a restaurant night fundraiser.

There are many variables to consider when choosing a restaurant to host your fundraiser:

  1. What percentage will our group receive? Local restaurants tend do donate higher percentages while chains and franchises trend toward the low side. Usually the range is between 10 and 25%.
  2. What day or days are available? Some local restaurants will agree to a week long promotion, but usually it is limited to one day or night.
  3. What hours are available? Obviously the more hours available the more potential for income.
  4. Is it limited to just my group? Or will we receive a percentage from everyone who dines during our time period?
  5. If take out or drive through is available will we receive income from these sales?
  6. Can our members work behind the counter or as “celebrity servers”?
  7. Can we set up an informational display and solicit funds during our restaurant night?

A restaurant night is a very popular fundraiser for small groups like school PTO/PTAs, scout groups, sports teams, and other groups with a good size member base but few volunteers. While the potential for large profits from this fundraiser aren’t very likely it can provide a steady source of income for your group with very little effort. And this discretionary spending by members of your group won’t affect the regular fundraising dollars they give.

Just think of how many times your family eats out each month. If you could hold a restaurant night fundraiser or a fundraisers for small groups once a month during the school year the money could add up. Make sure to rotate your restaurants for the best results.

How to Run a Successful Bingo Fundraiser: Revenue Generators

Bingo Fundraiser

The ultimate goals of all fundraisers is to raise money; so it’s no surprise that that’s the same instance for a bingo fundraiser. Running a bingo fundraiser is one thing, and running a successful one is another. There are many elements that come into play when running a fundraiser in general, and as an organizer, you adequately prepare yourself in order to get optimum results. Now let’s look at the revenue generators or the bingo products you’ll need to sell at your bingo event.

How to Run a Successful Bingo Fundraiser: Revenue Generators

    • Bingo Books & Admission

      Many bingos will sell an admission package to each bingo player when they arrive. This package usually sells for around $20 and includes entry to the event, a bingo book with bingo sheets for each game in the bingo program, and perhaps an added bonus such as a free dauber or an extra bingo sheet for a jackpot game.

      If you have early bird games (a handful of games before your main bingo program), you should sell bingo books for them for around $3-$5. Additionally, extra bingo books should be sold (usually for $5-$15 each) at a discount to the admission price. Finally, it’s a good idea to sell extra single bingo sheets for the larger prize (jackpot) games.

      If you choose not to have an admission package, you can simply sell bingo books for a set price once the bingo players have entered.

    • Raffles

      Raffles are a great way to earn additional funds during your bingo event. During the night, have a friendly person walk around selling with a smile. If possible, it’s a good idea to advertise and presell the raffle tickets beforehand. You can have 50/50 raffles (where 50% of the proceeds go to the prize), or raffle off one or more prizes. Your prizes should be good quality and have obvious value. Don’t be cheap!

      Be careful, raffles, like bingos, can also fall under state regulation. Be sure you find out your state’s policy on raffles beforehand.

    • Pulltabs

      Like raffle tickets, pulltabs (charity tickets) are a great way to increase sales and revenues during a bingo. A pulltab is a similar to a scratch off lottery ticket, but instead it has a number of “windows” that are peeled open to reveal a possible prize. Each box of pulltabs contains a set amount of prizes (usually around 75% of the take). Therefore, each box (once sold) is guaranteed a certain profit.

      Pulltabs come in a variety of games and styles. If you decide to sell pulltabs, make sure you know how each game is played beforehand.

      Be warned! Pulltabs are even more heavily regulated than bingos. Be sure that they are legal in your state. And, if they are legal, make sure that you are properly licensed to sell them.

    • Bingo Supplies

      Bingo Fundraiser Bingo supplies, especially bingo paper, can be a little confusing. If you are unfamiliar with bingo, ordering the proper bingo books can be difficult. We recommend you read “How to Order Bingo Paper” on the Wholesale Bingo Supplies website for a quick overview and for some idea what bingo paper cuts and sizes that bingo paper comes in.

      Make sure you order your bingo supplies in advance to give yourself some time. You’ll likely need the following, bingo books, additional bingo sheets for jackpot games, bingo daubers (markers for the players), and raffle tickets and pulltabs (if legal in your area). If you’re unsure of what bingo supplies you need, visit Wholesale Bingo Supplies.

      If you plan on hosting bingos on a regular basis, you might even consider purchasing an advanced bingo console and bingo equipment. But, this can get pricey. For an annual bingo, it’s best to find bingo equipment you can borrow. Also, you can get by purchasing a low-cost, quality, bingo cage.

    • Bingo Callers


If at all possible, find an experienced bingo caller. You don’t want some novice person calling bingo who has trouble handling the equipment (dropping bingo balls in the middle of a game can be a disaster) or lacks confidence in front of people. If you can’t find an experienced caller, then find someone who is comfortable with crowds and have them practice with the equipment ahead of time. Go over your bingo program step-by-step.

Whether experienced or not, you want your bingo callers to call numbers at a regular pace. We recommend that bingo numbers be called about every 20 seconds for commercial bingo hall environments where seasoned bingo players play. However, this speed should be adjusted to fit your crowd and the number of bingo faces in play. Hopefully, your bingo equipment will have a timer which will alert your caller when to call. However, if no timer is available, use a watch or clock as best you can to call at a regular pace.

  • Cash vs Baskets or Other Prizes

    It doesn’t make a lot of difference if you give away cash or prizes or a mixture of both at your bingo fundraiser. The important thing is to make sure that whatever you give, you are giving something with value.

    Benefits of FundraisingMake your bingo prizes worth the effort for your bingo players. If you give bingo baskets, fill them with quality products. If you give cash, make sure you give away some big jackpots. When your bingo players win a bingo, they want win something and they want to win something good.

  • Bingo Concessions

    Your bingo event will usually last from 3-5 hours, with the actual bingo program taking about 3 hours to play. Therefore, it is important to have refreshments and food available if possible. Bingo players are not robots. They will get hungry and thirsty.

    Make sure that the food you serve at your concessions stand is good quality and keep your prices reasonable. We believe it’s smart business to have your bingo concession be a draw for your bingo event and not a profit center. Let your bingo games make the money while your concession keeps them well-nourished and happy.

Bottom Line

A bingo fundraiser requires planning. You’ll need to assemble a team of volunteers, find a qualified bingo caller, acquire prize donations, locate a site, advertise, and more. Make sure you give yourself at least a month or two to prepare. Good luck and happy fundraising! If you follow our advice, we’re sure your next bingo fundraiser will be a success.