Fund raising ideals ?!?!?!

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by shoneyboy, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK, fellow SMF members, I have been kicking around the ideal of a big build for some time. I just have needed a reason to justify this build to my financial manager (wife) first. Now I feel I have valid one, my daughter is on the flag team at the junior high school and they are always in need money raising ideals. So, last night I had the greasiest brain farts ever (or so I say….LOL). Last weekend we went to Biloxi, Mississippi for a flag competition with her. Arriving early, I had some time to enjoy a Mardi Gras Parade. Before the parade we noticed that their were food venders everywhere. So yesterday, while at our parade in Denham Springs, I noticed that I didn’t see anyone selling food! Poof, it gave me the ideal to sell food at the parade. First, I had the ideal of cooking a jambalaya, but it seems like that is what everyone does around here to raise money. My next ideal was to incorporate my passion for smoking meat with my willingness to help. So, I was thinking about selling pulled pork sandwich. They are something that can be easily wrapped in foil and handed out fairly quickly (keeping container cost down). I felt that I could turn a profit fairly quickly with a small investment. I know that some other members have done this before and what I need to know is if I am on the right track? First, I’m NOT looking to do this as a business; I just love to cook and want to help out. If this works out, I was thinking of trying to volunteer my services with other school/groups as I can in the future. My first request from you is, I need one killer; they can’t live without recipe for Pulled Pork. My taste are vastly different from a lot of others, I like prefer more of a natural smoke with a little salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, but now that I’m doing this for so many others, I will need a recipe that will appeal to the vast majority of them. I have never attempted a smoke on a scale this large, EVER! So I have some concerns on how go about it. I need to know how to prepare for this smoke. How much food should I prepare? How much time will I need to allow for preparation/cooking? Things like that…. I know that I have read and messaged others doing this for the same reason and for profit. So, I know that I’m in the right place to get some advice. My basic plan was going to start off small, maybe 50lbs PP for the first run and see how it goes. Knowing that I want to finish with 50lbs of PP, I was planning on cooking 60lbs of Boston Butts. What I was thinking is serving a ¼ pound of PP on each sandwich, selling each sandwich for 5.00 each, 200 sandwiches X $5.00 = a $1,000.00 profit towards their cause. Am I on the right path? Am I looking at this right? I want to provide the customer with a value for the money they are spending, so is a ¼ lb of meat enough for each sandwich?  I will be starting on the build pretty soon as long as I can get some back up to be able to justify all of this to the financial manager (wife). Any help/advice would be appreciated. Thanks ShoneyBoy
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Before you do anything else, check with the local health department to see what the rules are for serving food to the public for a fee in your area. Even fund raisers will have some requirements.  In some areas of the country, it is going to have to be done in a certified kitchen.  You will also want to check into insurance requirements. The organization you are trying to support may have some but you want to protect yourself. 

    Joel- Solaryellow has a rig that meets the requirements for his area so he may have some ideas for you.  Go into this with enough knowledge that you don't get into an event and get shut down. 

    Good luck and keep us in the loop
  3. ronrude

    ronrude Meat Mopper

    Definitely make sure you check with the health department  They will likely want to inspect your equipment.  Consider you will likely have to pay a fee to sell on the street depending on your location.  As far as using a comercial kitchen, you could possibly borrow one.  I know the kitchen at my masonic lodge is considered commercial, possibly your local church.

    As far as portions, i think 1/4lb is standard.
  4. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with Scarbelly on the need to check with the health department.

    I also recommend you check in to the insurance. It seams more and more people are out for a quick buck and are sue happy. All it takes is 1 suite to wipe ya out. This is one reason I haven't gotten into catering. I'm by no means trying to scare you off of your fund raising idea as I think it's a GREAT one. I tend to think outside the box and the what ifs and cover my hinny, if possible. I have talked with a lawyer on this exact same thing and he said  to have at least 1 mil in insurance.  I also checked with my homeowners insurance company and they informed me as long as I charge, I am considered a business and am not covered. They told me I can get insurance on a per event, I didn't have too carry it full time. The same most likely would apply to fund raisers.  

    I also think you are on the right track on amount of food to make. If it all doesn't sell which i doubt,  it can be frozen for next time. I don't feel 1/4 pound sammy for 5 bucks is unreasonable, just look at what the BBQ joints charge. 
  5. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    Ron is absolutely right. Start with the health department before you do anything else. They will most likely be very helpful and tell you everything you need to do to comply with their expectations. I know when I made that call a year and a half ago I fully expected to have a brief, unhelpful, aggravating conversation but much to my surprise I had a 2 hour conversation with a person who told me every little thing they will look for and what order I had to follow to get approved. Some things were intuitive but others were not like having a commissary/restaurant that had to be inspected first before they would even look at the smoker. Know the law.

    Build your smoker to comply with the HD. Otherwise you will be pounding your head against the wall.

    Once you get past that, incorporate and insure your corporation. Even though you have the best of intentions it will only take one person getting sick to put you in financial peril. Incorporating will help to separate your personal assets from your business. Insurance is cheap ($425/year for $1,000,000) and well worth it.

    Once you get all of that settled then you can worry about recipes and portion sizes. For festivals we usually do 1/3lbs on a sandwich for $5 which is a huge sammich. For sides, it depends on how many sides and what kind of event. We are usually in the 1/4 lbs range which ends up being quite a bit more than you would think once it is all on the plate.
  6. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Great idea if done properly. If you need help with anything just let me know,i'm right up the road.
  7. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good thing I asked, I never gave Insurance or the Health Department a thought, looks like I’m back to the drawing board. Thanks for the heads up…. I rather do this now rather than start over once I think I’m finished. Looks like 1st before I get started on anything, I will have to have a meet and greet with my local HD enforcement agent... Then I will give my insurance agent a call….

    @ Solaryellow, What type of policy would I be asking for?

    @ Eman, I will keep that in mind when the time comes……

    Thanks to all of you, I know I’ll be back looking for more information soon……..ShoneyBoy
  8. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I don't recall the exact name of it but something along the lines of a limited catering policy. Tell your agent what you are trying to do and they should be able to hook you up with exactly what you need.
  9. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Check with your homeowner's carrier first.  It's likely that charging a fee would take you outside of liability coverage under your homeowner's policy, but that will depend on the policy language.  Take a look at it first because you never know.  It might cover you.  The fact that you're doing it as a charitable deal might keep you within your homeowner's coverage.  It wouldn't surprise me if it's not covered, but look first.  And if they tell you it's not covered, ask them to point you to the policy language that says so.  My point is don't take an insurance company employee's word for it.  It's the policy language that governs, and not what some employee says the policy covers.  And it's an incredibly good idea to look into this before a problem happens.

    But I 1000000% agree with Solaryellow said.  Insurance is absolutely worth it.  A big part of my practice is insurance law, albeit in Utah and not LA.  I can't overstate how it's worth it to have big policy limits.  In addition to the CYA side of things, I look at it as being responsible.  Heaven forbid I screw something up and someone gets hurt from it.  But if I do, I'll have coverage to take care of the person I hurt (and keep me from being sued into oblivion).  Either way you look at it, it's worth it.

    Also, if you go through your agent to buy another kind of policy, it never hurts to document everything, including a written request that your agent get you a policy that will cover you.  If and when you get cross-threaded with an insurance agent or company, it's way easier to show that something happened if it's on paper.
  10. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I used to buy an "event policy" for festivals. The policy covered lots things-liability for physical in case someone trips in your space- food liability- worker liability for the duration of the event. In some cases I had to indemnify the location and the event.  So dig into this deep so you are covered properly.

    Also - if you will be doing events that are in more than one county check on the health department, and city and county licenses required where you plan to vend.  We were good in one county and so far off in another county we opted not to go into any events in that county. You might also check with the cities to see what they require.

    I am not trying to scare or discourage you in any way. With the economy being what it is today, cities are enacting "permit fees" to generate revenue.  If you know what you are getting into ahead of time you can plan and cover your expenses.  

    There is an old saying that caterers are masochists looking for a public place to experience pain.
  11. This is the first post I've jumped into, but do have a few ideas that I have run into. First I always had the charity run the operation, in nothing else but in name. Other wise they would collect money, serve, etc. Then they would pay me back for my costs. Secondly, it took the liability from me, and no one can go after a charity, because they have nothing. Thirdly, in some countys you have to have to be certified to be able to handle food, even for charities. Hope this helps some.
  12. terry colwell

    terry colwell Smoking Fanatic

    It's easier to get Forgiveness then Permission.. This "legal" crap is getting old. It seems we are ALWAYS looking to get permission from someone now days. Next we are not going to feed our friends because "something" might happen.
  13. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    UPDATE: I took yalls advice and called the Health Department in Livingston Parish this morning, which Denham Springs is a subsidiary of. I explained to Mr. Lea the details of what I wanted to do and how I planned to only work for a fund raising organization/church events. He was very understanding, asked a few questions and said that he was going to have to do some research and get back to me. He said that because I was going to be doing this for charitable organizations, he didn’t think I need a permit, but was going to looking to it some more. I explained what some of yall said about coordinating the build around their requirements; he really seemed impressed that I brought up the question and seem to get more helpful really fast.  I did ask him if I needed to have the board of health inspect my build and he said the he would have to get back to me on that question too.  He said that he was going to find out everything that I would need to get started and get back to me this week with the information.  He did advise that I look into insurance…. He said that they have to investigate issues were if someone gets hurt or sick at a restaurant all the time and it seems like he had been seeing more of this the harder the economy gets. He did advise me that there are more than just the one or two events that I was planning on working a year and would see if he could put me in touch with the right people.   

    Like what others said, he seemed very interested and had a willingness to help. So we will see were this goes.

    Thank you all for the help and advice…….So far so good!!!!
  14. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    Good to hear. Best of luck!
  15. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  16. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Oh, one other thing I can't believe I forgot to mention.  When you're dealing with government employees, always tell them how dumb you are and how you need them to tell you how to do your job.  The WORST thing you can do is be pushy, bossy, or act like you know how to do their job better than they do (even if you really do).  I have NEVER run into a government employee that didn't LOVE having his or her ego stroked.  I use the whole, "I'm just a dumb country lawyer and I can't figure this out but I'll bet you know exactly what I need to know..." as a lead in.  It works like a CHARM.  I've got the ladies at the sheriff's department eating out of my hand.  They'll bend over backward to help me out or dig up an answer for me.  Last year the secretary did me a favor because she likes me, and it saved a client about a month's worth of waiting around before we could execute on a property.  And where you're trying to figure out how to smoke some awesome food at a community event for charity, play it right and they'll love you forever.

    And I've been in the office when someone calls in and cocks off at them and tells them how to do their job.  Let's just say that those calls either get forgotten quickly or find their way to the very bottom of the inbox in a big hurry.  

    When dealing with a government employee, odds are good that they hate their job.  But giving them the opportunity to be way smarter than you and way better at what you do than you are can brighten their day.  This is especially true when dealing with state, county, or local government officials.  It sometimes works with feds, but that can be more of a wild card.

    Oh, and just so nobody gets offended, I'm not talking down on government employees.  Just a tip I've found very helpful.  I was a government worker in my previous life, where I worked for 7 years for a couple of different agencies.
  17. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    ThsMormonSmoker, I have been dealing with people for many years and I learned a long time ago, that you can get so much more done by asking for help with “bla bla bla”[​IMG] rather that telling someone do this now[​IMG]!!!! I am one of those government employees myself and I know how it works too


    ….. I explained to him that all I want to do is help the KIDS… by the time we were done he was telling me that put me in touch with the right people[​IMG]…… Once I’m ready…. What most people don’t know is, by far I want to help the kids first and foremost, but I want to SMOKE!!! I love smoking, it is more fun than any other hobby I have had so far. Smoking is the most fun that I can legally have without needing someone like you to get me out of trouble……. I got it and I got it bad…..[​IMG]  Thanks everone for the advice and I'm sure I will need some more before it's over with.....[​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  18. Hey ThsMormonSmokes... I am a gov't employee and LOVE my job. LOL
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  19. ThsMormonSmokes, you are right. Govt employee or anyone, honey works better every time. There are enough problems in this world that tears people down, any time you can help build anyone up, it pays big time dividends.
  20. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah, I probably should have toned it down some.  I liked my government jobs on most days.  My point is that when you need to jump through a few hoops, it never hurts any to grease the skids with the people holding the hoops.

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