An increase in the number of restaurants donating a portion of their profits to an annual fundraiser might denote an improved economic climate.
On Nov. 9, 103 restaurants will be giving 10 percent of profits earned to benefit the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, an increase from 95 restaurants last year and a return to participation levels before the recession.
- RSVVP stands for “Restaurants Sharing 10 Percent.” Participating restaurants will contribute 10% of their total proceeds on Nov. 9 to benefit the Inter-Faith Council.
- Participating restaurants on Franklin Street include:
35 Chinese Restaurant
Bandido’s Mexican Cafe
Cypress on the Hill
Elaine’s on Franklin
Kildare’s Irish Pub
Linda’s Bar and Grill
Mint Indian Restaurant
Top of the Hill
Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe
Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe
The increase in participation comes as the council’s food pantry attempts to meet record-high demands, with 3,000 families served in 2010 — and Moran expects demand for services to rise.
RSVVP, or Restaurants Sharing Ten Percent, is in its 22nd year.
“I just have to applaud our restaurants for wanting to do this,” said Chris Moran, the council’s executive director.
Funds raised will benefit the Community Kitchen and the food pantry, which provided more than 87,000 meals and nearly 16,000 grocery bags to families in the area last year.
Dwight Bassett, the county’s economic development officer, said the economic climate compared to this time last year shows more consumer demand, which might prove more supportive of charity efforts. But higher RSVVP revenues are not guaranteed, he said.
“Success is all going to depend on the community and how interested they are in promoting the initiative,” he said.
Revenues from last year’s efforts reached $18,592, the lowest in years and a 23 percent decrease from 2006.
“Folks in general are trying to save their resources, not trying to go out, and that makes this event even more special,” Moran said. “It shows the generosity that this community can show toward those that are either voiceless.”
Moran said this year he expects the combination of an economic turnaround and increased restaurant participation to bring in more than $20,000.
“Last year some businesses had gone under,” Moran said. “You couple that with a really horrible economy and bad rain we had and we did fairly well last year considering.
“There are newer restaurants getting into the groove,” he said. “They see it as a way of promoting our services, and it’s a good way of promoting themselves too.”
Sheila Neal is co-owner of Neal’s Deli, which opened just a few years ago. She said she didn’t think participating in RSVVP was going to be financially feasible at first.
“It was a leap for us, but by our second year we’re ready to commit to a 10-percent day,” she said. “They’re our neighbors. We believe in what they’re doing.”
Increased costumer traffic is the intended incentive for restaurant participation, but for some restaurants it’s not the driving force.
Scott Conary, owner of Open Eye Café and Caffé Driade, has been supporting RSVVP for several years. He said he doesn’t pay attention to any difference in business on the day of the event.
“We’re all kind of shooting for the same thing,” he said. “From my perspective it’s all good.”
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