Restaurant Fundraisers: What, Where, and How

Restaurant fundraisers are the most delicious way to change the world! Thousands of groups have reached their fundraising goals by partnering with restaurants and you can too. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to work with local restaurants to raise for your favorite cause.

What are restaurant fundraisers?

A restaurant fundraiser is a social event where a group eats at a restaurant on a particular day and the restaurant donates back a set percentage of sales to the group’s cause. These events are also known as dine-to-donate, profit shares, fundraising nights, restaurant give-back nights, or spirit nights.

Fundraising at restaurants is truly a win-win scenario! Restaurants that do fundraisers establish closer ties with their communities and your friends, family, and supporters get a chance to enjoy a delicious meal with each other.

Which restaurants do fundraisers?

There are thousands of restaurants that do fundraisers! From fast food fundraisers at Krispy Kreme, Chipotle, and Chick-fil-A to fundraisers at casual dining restaurants such as Applebee’s and Texas Roadhouse, you’re sure to find a place for your group. You can find restaurants that allow fundraising on the GroupRaise website.

What is GroupRaise?

GroupRaise is an online platform that connects fundraising groups with local restaurants, allowing groups to find and book restaurant fundraisers online.

Restaurant Fundraising During COVID - Fall 2020 Update

The GroupRaise fundraising experience is all about bringing communities together over the dinner table. We know that many people can’t physically be together these days but are still looking for ways to support their community, which is why there are now options to host restaurant takeout fundraisers. Check out the video below to learn more!

Best restaurant fundraisers - based on participating locations with takeout/delivery

Restaurant Percent Donating Back Locations with Takeout/Delivery
Applebee's 15-20% 475
Papa Murphy's 10-30% 135
IHOP 15-25% 120
On The Border 15-20% 116
Corner Bakery 15-20% 116
Dickey's Barbecue Pit 15-30% 105
McAlister's Deli 15-20% 99
Papa John's 15-40% 94
And thousands more... Up to 50% 5,000+

Am I eligible to host restaurant fundraisers?

Any group can hold a restaurant fundraiser, including nonprofits, schools, individuals, churches, college clubs, and more! Don't have a group yet? Choose one of the causes GroupRaise already supports.

That being said, the restaurant ultimately decides which groups to accept. For example, some restaurants only host fundraisers for nonprofits or tax-exempt organizations and may ask for your 501(c)(3) Tax ID. You’ll be able to see the restaurant policies of particular locations when requesting your event.

For more group-specific restaurant fundraising ideas, see the useful resources linked below. Or, skip down to the next section to get a full run-through of how restaurant fundraisers work.

54 Restaurant Fundraisers for Non-Profits

36 Chain Restaurants That Do School Fundraisers

How To Hold a Successful Restaurant Fundraiser - PTO Today

How to raise money with a restaurant fundraiser - a step-by-step guide

  1. Select a restaurant

    The best restaurant fundraisers - and the most successful - are conveniently located, so as many people as possible can come. Search by city or zip code to make sure you find the most easily accessible restaurant for your group.

    Also consider space capacity and location policies. Will your supporters be dining together or at different times within your fundraiser window? Finally, check the restaurant’s requirements to make sure your group is a good fit.

  2. Pick a date

    Choose a date and time on the restaurant’s calendar page when most of your supporters are available. It only takes one minute to request a restaurant fundraiser! See this video for a quick walkthrough.

    Although the minimum window to request a restaurant fundraiser is 14 days in advance, most groups schedule at least 30 days out. Planning ahead helps you as the organizer, your group, and the restaurant to have a successful event, with plenty of time for the restaurant to respond to your request so you can start promoting.

    Pro tip: The most effective days to host a restaurant fundraiser are Wednesdays and Thursdays.

  3. Set your fundraising goals

    Consider how much you would like to raise. On the GroupRaise website, you can see and compare the donation percentages and average meal prices of restaurants near you. Then, under the Meal Details of the restaurant location page, you can type in the number of people that will attend, and you’ll get an estimated total donation amount for your fundraiser.

    Pro tip: Most restaurants donate 15-25% back to groups, and local restaurants often donate a higher percentage than chain restaurants.

  4. Promote your event

    Once the restaurant approves your request, spread the word about your meal!

    • Invite your friends, family, and supporters personally.
    • Let even more people know on social media by sharing your unique GroupRaise Meal Page, where supporters can RSVP and get an email reminder on the day of the event.
    • Ask the restaurant if you can leave flyers for them to display in-store.
    • Check out our blog post for more ideas on how to promote and host a successful fundraiser.

    On the day of the event, remind your group of the time and location. Hey, sometimes people forget. With a reminder, they won’t! Reach out to them via text (individually or using a mass texting tool such as CallHub). You can also let them know on Facebook, by email, or in person.

  5. Eat and raise!

    Enjoy delicious food, talk, and laugh with family and friends - all while raising money for your cause. It’s as easy as that! Even if some supporters missed the event, they can still make post-event donations online within the following 7 days.

    Pro tip: Take lots of photos. You can use the images to promote your group’s next fundraiser. See our blog post for tips on how to take good group photos.

  6. Get a check in the mail

    As for the post-fundraiser experience, the restaurant will send you a check in the mail for the total donation amount 4-6 weeks after your fundraiser. That’s a wrap! Until your next fundraiser, that is.

Still have questions about how a restaurant fundraiser works?

Restaurant fundraisers are fun, delicious, and social - a great way to bring your community together to support your cause. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to set up. Now that you know all about how restaurant fundraisers work, what are you waiting for? Get started by finding a location near you!

Find participating restaurants near you!