Turning Tacos Into Trophies

Dragon Chan | California DECA
Photo courtesy of @chipotlemexicangrill on Instagram.

It’s autumn again, which means school is back in session and your DECA chapter is likely planning all the amazing things you’ll do this year.

One of the top things on your mind is probably fundraising. Like, how? With fall sports starting up again, many schools are ramping up events like football games, driving in spirit and wonder to the campus. So how can you turn this into some dough for your next big thing?

For many on-campus events and sports, food and beverages are a big deal. You’ll see stands selling hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, and other junk food as hundreds of your fellow classmates and their parents stroll over to spectate the game. This is a prime time to have a fundraiser, whether that means selling meat sticks or beverages like lemonade and hot cocoa.

One unique option my own SoCal chapter, Rancho Bernardo DECA, is implementing is Operation Burrito Express. What the heck is that? Well, since most of the time at these events, there are only small concessions items and not a lot of meal/dining options, our chapter has launched a relay service delivering fresh, piping hot, and delicious burritos from Chipotle (a DECA Inc. NAB member) into the hands of the spectators in the stands in less than 30 minutes.

So just how are we doing this? Well, the first step to take is to reach out to the restaurant and seeing about scheduling a restaurant fundraiser the night of the big game. This is usually planned weeks in advance and a set amount of the revenue is guaranteed (for Chipotle, it’s 50%).

Once that is set up and flyers are made, our chapter setup a booth at the game and started collecting orders and payments (we charged retail cost rounded up + $1) and placed the orders using the mobile app, selecting cash as the payment option. We had our members who could drive travel five minutes to the Chipotle nearest us, pay using the cash collected after showing the flyer for the restaurant night, and return with delicious meals for pickup, texting people to pick up their orders.

This was a pretty easy project to setup with no inventory needed to buy upfront and not a lot to setup. The most difficult hurdle was coordinating the pickup shifts, which ran every 20-30 minutes in a two-hour span. However, this project can be worth it because of the profit margins.

On each order, which averages $8-$10, revenue is $1 per order + 50% of the order value. Depending on the amount of people at your school, you can rake in some serious dough, maybe even enough to buy chapter blazers or training materials to make it onto the International Career Development Conference stage.

While we used Chipotle to help us with this project, you can certainly use different restaurants and companies each time. While this is a great project for smaller events, larger events and chapters may want to consider doing a catering option entirely, as some places may become overloaded with orders.

The beauty of Operation Burrito Express is that it’s a super unique fundraising project/operation that is easily able to compete again existing vendors due to its unique niche and lack of initial expenses. No matter what fundraising option your chapter may pick, #Limitless opportunities await you this year.

For more #Limitless tips, tricks, and tales, follow @DECA_Dragon on Twitter.

This article was written by California DECA Vice President of Southern California, Dragon Chan. You can follow Dragon on Twitter @DECA_Dragon.

Categories: Chapter Development, Chapter Resources, Fundraising