Thursday, March 5, 2015

A successful business

This Tuesday was GaTE marketplace, which is the annual fundraiser for Paine Intermediate's Gifted and Talented Education program. Bilal has been participating in GaTE since the start of third grade. During Marketplace, children come up with creative ideas for businesses, pitch the business to their parents with PowerPoint presentations, take out a loan, and market their product. Bilal chose to sell waffles with his business partner, Frasier. I was quite skeptical about the idea; this meant we would have to prepare the product on site, it wasn't something that could really be prepared ahead of time. But it was his idea, and we decided to go along with it. After all, you learn from experience.

The lunchroom opened up at 2 pm to give us time to start setting up the businesses. I had to make sure we found a table up against the wall, since the waffle maker had to be plugged into an outlet. Without this, no product!
The set up was ready, and the business owners were in place, ready for the 3pm grand opening.

I heated up the waffle maker, Frasier's mom mixed up the batter, and we were in business.

As soon as the batter hit the warm waffle press, and it started emitting some aromatic steam, the customers started lining up. I has forgotten the power of the human nose. The fragrance of warm waffles wafted through both lunchrooms and down into the hallways. And boy, that was the best marketing tool we could have ever hoped for. We had several kids and adults come by, just because they smelled the waffles. The boys sold them for $3 for a full waffle or $2 for half a waffle, with toppings of their choice (strawberry syrup, chocolate syrup, maple syrup and whipped cream). They also got to choose whether they wanted chocolate chips in the batter. The full waffles came with a glass of punch (orange juice and Sprite mixed together was quite a hit). Honestly, we did not account for so many customers coming by and the lines forming so rapidly. With only one waffle maker, and an approximate four minutes to prepare each waffle, the line moved slower than desirable. But, our eager customers were willing to wait in line for their freshly prepared treats. We are not quite sure how many waffles we actually sold (the press worked non-stop from 2:55pm until 4:40pm), but we ended up with quite a profit. In fact, after taking out our expenses, and the students paying back the loans plus 5%, the profits were close to $70. And with donating some of our expenses to the program, the actual amount Bilal's and Frasier's business, 'The All you could want Restaurant' contributed to the GaTE program, was $77.00. Not too shabby! It was a lot of fun, and we almost sold out, but there was just enough batter left over to allow the friends to sample their own delicious product. Yum!

Next year will be another opportunity, and in spite of the great success this year, I propose that we sell a product that does not have to be made on site. Maybe a craft, or even a food item that can be cooked ahead of time? Sounds like a plan to me, but I wonder what Bilal will have to say about that?


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