ThinkTank Development Team
190 WPI & Mass Academy
1735 WPI / Burncoat H.S.
155 Berlin FIRST

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Nick Galotti graduated from WPI in 2005 with a degree in Computer Science. He has been involved in FIRST robotics since 1997 and now advises a team out of Burncoat High School in Worcester, MA. He is also active in FLL by writing the scoring software for all the Massachusetts tournaments and advising a team out of Burncoat Middle School. He also helped write and manage the ThinkTank.

How to Run a Spaghetti Supper

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How to run a spaghetti supper based off of how Team 1735 has successfully run spaghetti suppers in the past.

Each year team 1735 runs a spaghetti supper and makes a fair amount from it. The following outlines everything the team does to make it successful.

Preparation

Location

When looking for a location to hold the supper look for a place that has tables, chairs, a sink, and a cooking area. At the church used by team 1735 they have pots, bowls, and a coffee maker that is use for the event. If the location used doesn't have these plan to bring them. The best places to look are at churches, VFW halls, and Kawanis clubs. Most of these places will donate the space and it is often a good idea to build up a rapport with them so they will invite you back to hold future events.

Choosing a Date

Usually the best day of the week to hold a supper is on a Saturday. A Friday is the next best but runs into problems related to getting parents there after work to help and other logistics. Look at the calendar ahead of time to see what school functions are going on and what other holidays may be during the same weekend. If you want to be creative use the events/holidays to your advantage and sell the supper as a Fathers Day Supper or a Pep Rally Supper. In the case of how team 1735 runs their supper they look at the schedule of when evening mass is and hold it right after it. This makes it so as people are leaving they have to walk through see the robot and may decide to stay for dinner.

Tickets

It is best to sell tickets before the event. People will buy tickets with no intention of showing up or will forget when the supper is. It is also helps out if there happens to be bad weather since some people may decide not to show up, since the money has already been collected there is no lose. Team 1735 prints the tickets out on Linen Cover Stock which is similar to card stock and has a unique texture. Enough paper comes in a package that it can last for several years depending on how much is used. Team 1735 prints 24 tickets per page, see attachment 1.

Placemats

For a very minimal additional cost Team 1735 makes placemats that are placed at each seat. These are yet another fundraiser where ads are sold for $15 a square inch. They are printed on 8.5"x14" paper (legal size) on a personal printer. After one or two ads are sold the placemat becomes profitable. The space not used for ads on the placemat can be used for thank-yous and additional information about the team and FIRST. Another option is to not sell ads and put only put information on the placemat. An example placemat order form can be seen in attachment 2 and an example placemat can be seen in attachment 3.

Buying Food

Team 1735 is in a large city and as such there are many grocery stores. The team goes to all the stores and asks for donations. Most if not all of them usually give at least a $10 gift card and as much as $25. After visiting 7 stores we end up having enough money to buy all the food needed. Donations are seeked a week or two before the food is bought. Before going out to buy food look at the circulars for all the stores in the area first and buy items that are on sale. If the supper is on a Saturday, check both weeks of circulars (the one ending Friday/Saturday and the one starting Saturday/Sunday) to get the best deals. Remember generic brands work fine for most of the items you need for the supper but often good sales can also be found on name brands.

Advertising

There are several ways to advertise a spaghetti supper. Some of the easiest ways to advertise is in the local newspaper, hanging fliers at local businesses, and word of mouth. One of the suppers Team 1735 had scheduled turned out to be the night after a major ice storm which caused half the city to lose electricity. To get the word out calls were made to the local radio stations that were covering the storm where on the air it was mentioning that if people are looking for a hot supper they can come to the spaghetti supper. This helped get the word out about the team and also brought in several customers.

Supplies

The list below is what Team 1735 has used. It is based off of how much was used at the most recent supper where 45 people showed up (including team members). The list of food only shows what was used, more was bought to cover the possibility of more people showing up. Trying to estimate the total number of people showing up is hard to do since ticket sales do not give a good idea, so be prepared to send someone to a store nearby if necessary. 

Food

The list below is how much was used for 45 people. Not how much was bought.

  • Spaghetti (12 pounds)
  • Italian Meatballs (240 meatballs)
  • Salad (3 - 2 pound bags)
  • Grape Tomatoes (3 pints, 1 mixed with each bag of salad)
  • Spaghetti Sauce (12 - 24 oz jars, must be plain/traditional)
  • Butter (12 oz tub, individual packets also work)
  • Salad Dressin
    • Italian (2 - 32 oz bottles)
    • Ranch (32 oz bottle)
    • Thousand Island (32 oz bottle)
    • Creamy Italian (32 oz bottle)
  • Bread (8 - foot long loaves)
  • Parmesan Cheese (2 - 16 oz containers)
  • Soda
    • Cola (2 - 3 liters)
    • Diet Cola (3 liters)
    • Orange (3 liters)
    • Root Beer (3 liters)
    • Cherry Cola (3 liters)
  • Milk (1/2 Gallon)
  • Half and Half (1 pint)
  • Cream (1 pint)
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Salt and Pepper packets
  • Dessert (provided by parents)

Table Supplies

  • Tablecloths

Cooking Supplies

  • 3 Large Pot
    • 1 for sauce (keep separated from meatballs for vegetarians)
    • 1 for meatballs and some sauce
    • 1 for spaghetti
  • Strainer (for spaghetti)
  • Big spoons to stir pots
  • Pot holders
  • Gloves
  • Knife for cutting bread

Serving Supplies

  • Tongs for salad
  • Spoon for sauce
  • Spoon for meatballs
  • Slotted spoon for meatballs
  • Fork/Tongs for spaghetti
  • Sterno
  • 6 - 1/2 Buffet Trays
  • 3 Buffet Stands

Utensils

  • Plastic-ware (Forks, Knifes, Spoons)
  • Paper Cups
  • Plates (use heavy duty ones)
  • Foam Cups (for coffee/tea)

Clean Up

  • Dish soap
  • Sponges
  • Towels for drying

Food Serving

When the food is served it is placed in half buffet trays and placed on the racks. Two are used for spaghetti and are in the same rack. One is for plain sauce and another for meatballs, both of these are in the same rack. Salad and bread go in the third rack. At the end of the line the butter, salad dressing, utensils, cheese, and any other accoutrements are places. The soda, milk, coffee, tea, and other drinks are placed on another table. Any desserts are put on a third table that is easy to get to at any time, usually next to where the robot is so everyone needs to walk by it.

When everyone is eating the students are encouraged to walk around to the tables and talk to the visitors about what the team does, how the robot is build, and any other questions they may have.

Clean up

The clean up is fairly straight forward, wash all dishes, put away the tables and chairs, and throw away all garbage. Any leftover food that was cooked or is perishable can be donated to a food shelter. Non-perishable food can be saved for the next event.

For Team 1735 it costs next to nothing to run, a profit is made before the day of the supper, and the community is made aware of the team.

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