The voucher collection displays offers from local restaurants valued at more than $ 200, with 100 percent of the proceeds invested in youth programs
Restaurants are particularly hard hit by the global pandemic. They had to close their doors to personal meals, focus on takeaway and delivery options, and quickly switch back and forth based on the latest health advice.
But there’s a new way to support local restaurants in Aurora while helping the local youth.
Come Dine With Us !, a new initiative from the Optimist Club of Aurora, is a $ 20 collection of vouchers that includes over $ 200 worth of offers from local restaurants. Now that Optimist members are selling the entire community, 100 percent of the proceeds will be invested in local youth programs, including funding for healthy snacks in schools.
“Our fundraising committee looked for options and we started talking about the need in the community to help restaurants struggling to stay open,” said optimist Greg Way, who leads Come Dine With Us for has taken over the service club. “I posted a comment on how I bought restaurant coupon books from other groups, opened them, and after I found them the restaurants were in Thornhill or Scarborough. The idea was, what if we made a coupon book for local Aurora restaurants only, sell it locally within Aurora, and see what happens? “
Of course, to see if the coupon book was feasible, they had to take the idea to local restaurants to gauge interest.
“I’ll never forget to go to a local restaurant, all the chairs were on the tables and … I told the restaurant owner what the idea was and he almost started crying,” recalls Way. He said, ‘If I could hug you, I would. I can’t believe you would do this to keep the restaurants open and attract new customers. ‘We got the same feedback from all these different places. “
The Come Dine With Us initiative aims to sell 400 coupon books. This includes 22 vouchers from 20 different restaurants, from Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet and Toppers Pizza to independent favorites such as Romy’s and Aqua Grill.
A particular selling point for the restaurants is that it doesn’t cost them anything to be a part of it. All they have to do is work out a deal that will encourage customers to get something to take away or get delivered and stick to the deal they are offering.
“We don’t want any money from the restaurants, but if someone comes in and wants a starter, we ask the restaurant owners, what would you give them as an incentive to come back a second time? There is an opportunity here to have over 400 new customer groups, ”says Way. “As they looked at it that way, their eyes lit up. Every single one of them has problems and I have no doubt that some will say, “I put an expiration date on the voucher. I just hope to be in business in a year. We haven’t even officially published the book yet and have already sold 140 of the 400 coupon books just through word of mouth that we did. I think there is a huge demand in the community to help other restaurants.
“This was originally only done to help the restaurants, but we knew we had something to value and sell them. 100 percent of the funds we raise will be used for the youth in Aurora by expanding our healthy snacks program and giving elementary schools money to offer snacks to children year round. “
To secure your Come Dine With Us coupon book, send an email to [email protected]
Brock Weir is a federally funded reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative at The Auroran