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Benefit nights help both Franklin Street business and student organizations

Italian Pizzeria III has existed since 1980.

UNC Chapel Hill has more than 800 student organizations on campus, and there’s always at least one benefit night happening on Franklin Street to support these organizations. 

The prevalence of these benefit nights is partly tied to location and convenience. Franklin Street is home to more than 95 restaurants and bars, which gives organizations more incentive to host a benefit night on Franklin Street. 

Angelo Marrone, co-owner of Italian Pizzeria 3, said it’s a great way to raise money for the organization and also helps bring in more customers. 

“It’s good for business,” Marrone said. “It’s good for them. It’s good for a lot of people that haven’t come here before. They come here for these kind of benefit nights and try the pizza and they really love it. So it’s good for both sides.”

IP3 has donated 50 percent of all proceeds during past events, according to event Facebook pages.

The common thread between smaller local restaurants and chain restaurants on Franklin Street is the restaurants’ discretion to choose the percent of profit it donates to the organization.  

The Chipotle on Franklin Street requires organizations to fill out a form that asks for background on the organization, which is sent to Chipotle’s corporate office for approval.

Chipotle Kitchen Manager Carla Rodriguez said it gives the partnered organization 50 percent of whatever it makes during a benefit night. 

“We tell them the fundraiser night only lasts from 5-9 p.m.,” Rodriguez said. “So whatever we make, 50 percent of that goes toward their organization. October and November are our busiest fundraiser months.”

Carolina For The Kids, one of the biggest organizations on campus, has worked several times with Italian Pizzeria 3 and Chipotle. 

Megan Mathes, Carolina For The Kids head of campus fundraising, said while organizations often choose restaurants that they have worked with in the past, some restaurants do the opposite and reach out to them.

Mathes said restaurant benefit nights are the organization’s most popular type of benefit night. The fundraising powerhouse hosts an average of four benefit nights monthly throughout the school year.

“It’s not really that hard,” Mathes said. “Usually we just walk in because the restaurants are on Franklin Street but if the manager isn’t in, we’ll give them a call and we’ll ask them if they are interested in partnering with us for a benefit night from a certain time. Then they’ll either say yes or no.”

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