Thursday, October 14, 2010

Post-fish fry thoughts

Another fish fry has come and gone. It is held the second Saturday of October every year (as long as we keep having it). This year the weather was beautiful (80's), and we served 372 meals. A lot of them were 'to go' orders. This was also the first year we had the tv on, so people could watch the football game (in spite of a couple people who kept wanting to turn it off).

These are just some random things running through my mind while it's still fresh.

We need to establish exactly why we're doing this fish fry. It seems to me it is for two reasons:
  1. To try to raise some funds for an organization that needs it (Rescue Mission, Women's shelter, food bank, or something like that.).
  2. To try to be a blessing to the people in our community (by offering a nice meal at a reasonable price, and a chance to get together and hang out).
Perhaps we should ask if this is the best use of our time and resources in raising funds, and if we actually are being a blessing to others. I think we have to be realistic with this though. We're not expecting this to be the only way we raise funds for others, and I don't want us to get too carried away with trying to make a huge profit (not for ourselves, but for others).

I think there are three areas where we need to try to make cutbacks in addressing the above two things:
  1. We need to try to cut down on costs (without skimping on quality of the food).
  2. We need to try to cut down on worker traffic the night of (in the kitchen and around the tables). We want people to be able to enjoy themselves.
  3. We need to cut down on the grumpiness of people working/serving.
Some specifics:
  • I think we can do away with people going around refilling drinks. If people want a refill they can probably get it themselves.
  • We need to only have one person going around with more fish & tenderloin (if we need anyone at all). Again, if people want more, they are free to help themselves. This year I had someone ask me if I wanted more before I had even started to eat.
  • We need to buy pre-made drinks, instead of the mixed stuff (or at least add Sprite like Joan did). It's almost impossible to make more with all the people in the kitchen.
  • Begin using plastic silverware instead of the real stuff. This would allow people to just throw their stuff away when they're done (eliminating the need for people to pick up dirty dishes), as well as move that process out of the eating area. We don't go through THAT much silverware (approx. 400 dinners, half of which are to go anyway).
  • Possibly get plastic serving trays instead of those big stinking cookie sheets.
  • Line the potato pans with foil, so they're easier to clean.
  • Get rid of the slaw. It tasted awful this year, and not that many people seemed to take it.
  • Put the bread in the serving line and have someone give it to people if they want it as they come through the line. This would eliminate the need to individually bag it beforehand and leave more room on the tables (and probably eliminate some waste too).
  • We need to ask a few people to "retire" from working the night of the fish fry. They are still needed for prep work, but honestly they're just getting a little old and when they work they kind of come off as a bit "grumpy."
  • Only have one greeter (the person who directs people where to go). And this person needs to be someone from the church who is pleasant and might know a lot of people.
  • Maybe see if we could find a food warmer so we could prepare some to go orders ahead of time.
  • We need to go through and re-evaluate the positions for the night of the fish fry. And when we fill those positions, perhaps we could be a little better at placing the right people in the right positions for them.
I'm sure there are other things. That's a good start though. Personally, I actually kind of like the fish fry. Yes, it's a pain in the butt getting ready for. I spend a great deal of time the week before and after, setting up and putting things back in place. But I enjoy the chance to have people into our building, and the food is really good.