We did a Chuck E Cheese fundraiser last year and had the most awful experience! They ran out of pizza just 1 hour into the event! Our parents were only allowed to stand on one line in order for us to get credited. People waited online 45 minutes just to be told they had no pizza. When they ran out they did not let people know and continued to let them stand on line to order pizza. The people who were just trying to get tokens were giving up and going to the machines to get them. Of course this made Chuck E Cheese money without us getting any cut. But you cannot expect people to wait on line 45 minutes to get some tokens.
The manager on duty was worthless. She was not interested in correcting any of the problems and all she did was lay blame on the day time manager.
The extent of the help she was willing to give was to just tell us it was not her fault.
We finally got on the phone with corporate and they promised us a few things in order to make up for the disaster but they never followed through and gave them to us.
I have spoken with two other people who had Chuck E Cheese fundraising nights at other locations. They had similar stories about them running out of pizza and being totally unprepared to handle the evening. Plus for all the hassle of the evening you only get 10% which doesn't add up to much. We wanted to do it because we thought it would be a great night for the kids, not so much for the profit. We did also send a scathing letter to corporate in the days that followed and never got any response.
We had a pretty good experience. I think we should have tried to work it in shifts to better handle the "only one cash register" thing they insist on doing because we also had people waiting a while. I believe all of our children and families loved it because I didn't get any nasty calls-and I ALWAYS get nasty calls if someone thinks we shouldn't do it again. We are doing it again this year.
We also did a McDonald's night last year. It earned more than twice the CEC Night but they required school staff to be there and help, which no one wanted to do. Our local McD's gives 25% but I know others that only do 10% so check with each store. These are so popular that we have to put our name on a waiting list to get one.
Our school does a CiCi's night and they have great success with it but people always complain about the wait.
A lot of restaurants do these type of things. Pizza Hut, Godfathers, and Uno that I know of off the top of my head.
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We also have had a Chuck E. Cheese Night but we really had a positive experience. We didn't look at as a fundraiser, though... we consider it one of our family nights.
It was great because parents really had a chance to sit and talk and get to know one another while the kids were entertained. We packed the place! The manager at our location was nice enough to open a second register for our event to minimize waits. Also, they allowed us to direct customers who weren't with our group to use our line, maximizing our profit. I think the best thing about the night was that I DIDN"T HAVE A THING TO CLEAN!!!!
Our first CEC fundraising night was great. CEC will give you promotional items such as posters and flyers to copy. I don't always have time to design flyers to hand out, so this was a big plus in my book. They even give you the option of have Chuck E come to your school to get the kids fired up.
Everything ran smoothly at the restaurant too. When the one line became too long, they opened up a second line. It all went so well, that we did it again...and only made half of what we did the first time.
Since it seems that the experiences vary greatly from store to store, you might want to ask the manager how they handle things before you sign up. Also, I would suggest not making our mistake, if you have a successful event, and scheduling another one soon after the first. I think we are only going to do CEC once a year from now on.
We just had our Chuck E. night and agree that it should be considered more of a family night than a fundraiser. Even though they've bumped their kick back to 15%, that's still a LOT of pizza to buy to get a decent return! We had a steady stream of parents all afternoon & evening, but I fear many of them just went to use their free tokens sticker and not really buy much. Which is ok. The kids had a blast, our staff was great, with two registers open and prompt service. I can't complain about the restaurant and now that we know not to expect the funds, we'll advertise it as a family night next time.