Table at a pop-up restaurant event

Pop-up restaurant

Ellie Sales, PTA Chair, Hazelwood School, London (660 pupils) told us:

'The PTA Chair at another school suggested a "pop-up restaurant" fundraiser. Two parents at our school - Al and Helen - are professional chefs and agreed to help. We transformed the school canteen! We had rows of tables and benches and kept it simple, using brown paper for table cloths and black sugar paper runners as tablemats. We dressed tables with fairy lights and tea lights in jars. Al (who runs a catering kitchen) worked on our menu, sourcing ingredients at cost through his suppliers.

The first course was a butternut squash salad with sage oil, orange and toasted seeds, followed by chicken breast with wild mushrooms, caramelised button onions and Madeira jus or wild mushroom and spinach wellington; both served with hasselback potatoes and seasonal greens. Dessert was a rich chocolate cake served with whipped cream, or stewed plums and custard, followed by a cheese board with chutney, pears and coffee (donated by Starbucks)! Starbucks support all our events, donating coffee in an urn that holds 92 cups. We pay a £50 deposit - they also provide milk, tea and sugar. The platters for the cheese were tiles donated by a local tile shop, and an estate agent sponsored the cheese board for £100! We visited farmers' markets to find the cheese, and our local supermarket donated olives and nuts. We selected four wines from Majestic Wine and set up a tasting table so that diners could try before buying.

We took bookings in advance, charging £20 per head (wine was either £10 or £15 per bottle) and it wasn't long before we were fully booked - 100 diners including 35 diners that weren't parents at our school! A parent played the piano and sung throughout the meal adding to the ambience. Once all courses were served, our volunteers sat down to eat together.

Next time I would charge more as everyone said the evening was too cheap and far exceeded their expectations. Our costs were £1,462 but after taking £2,762, we made a profit of £1,300! It was a great opportunity for friends to get together to enjoy good company, excellent food and to support the school.'

If you plan to serve alcohol at your event, read our guide to licensing requirements.

If you plan to play music at your event, read our guide to licensing requirements. 

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