Planning a coffee morning for charity?

Cake sales and coffee mornings in aid of charity have become a really popular way to raise funds for a cause close to your heart. Macmillan Coffee Cup Just look at events like Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, Maggie’s bake sales, or The Big Tea Cosy for Breast Cancer Haven. Everyone loves cake and cookies, and we challenge you to find us a Brit who can turn down a good cup of tea. It’s no wonder that so many of us are happy to get involved in a coffee or cake sale to raise money for those in need.

For maximum impact, you’ll want to do a little bit of pre-planning to make the most of your event. We’ve put together a checklist, to get your event preparation off to the best start:

Sort out your “staff”

Who’s going to help out? You’ll want people to help bake cakes, and people who are happy to turn up and act as hosts, cashiers, and clean up staff. Bonus points if you can find bakers who’ll produce you some specialist items like gluten-free or vegan-friendly items. You can never have too many hands on deck, so get asking as soon as you can before diaries fill up.

Choose your date and venue

Once you’ve got an idea of who’s staffing the event, choose a venue to run your event from. Maximise your potential by choosing a location with plenty of passing people, on a day where plenty of potential customers will be passing by. An ideal time and place would be a sunny Saturday on the high street, perhaps when a big event like a carnival or concert has brought plenty of people to town.

Get the word out

With your venue and helpers organised, it’s time to let the world know. Put up posters around the local neighbourhood, leave leaflets in local businesses, and get on to as many social media pages as you can to let people know all about your event.

Stock up on sundries

You’ll be bringing cake, tea and coffee, and maybe your kettles, but think about customers. Some customers may want to buy items to take away with them, so make sure you’re set up for that by bringing in cake boxes, paper cones or disposable cups.

To price or not to price?

Naturally, you’ll want to raise lots of money, but you also want to tempt buyers with pocket-friendly prices. Discuss your pricing with your volunteers so that everyone’s agreed on what to charge, and if you’re feeling organised, produce some price labels or cards to place by the items for sale. If you’re working on an honesty box system, make sure your donation jar is prominently displayed, and secure.

Can the community help?

Get in touch with local businesses and tell them about your event. Not only might they be happy to display a poster for you, they may be able to donate supplies or match supporter donations.

If you’re looking to take your fundraising to the next level, Banksford can print your charity logo or message on to aprons or uniforms, to really show your dedication to the cause. Get in touch with Banksford today, and discuss your requirements. We wish you lots of luck with your fundraising!

Etiquette tips fit for a Royal

Etiquette TipsIf, like us, you’re still waiting for your invitation to the Royal Wedding, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s still time to brush up on your fine dining etiquette before any other big day. Even if that invitation didn’t come through your door, our helpful hints for proper table manners will hopefully keep you on the right side of the royal family if an opportunity ever comes up. (image by Bright Side)

1. The invitation

For formal occasions, you will receive an invitation, which you should always reply to, even if only with a quick phone call. Your invitation should specify if “plus ones” or children are allowed, but it’s OK to check with the host if it’s not specified. Don’t just bring them and hope it’ll be OK. Do take a gift with you for the host or hostess, such as a bottle of wine, but don’t be offended if it’s not used during your meal. The host has probably set out their menu well in advance.

2. Getting started

For a rectangular table, the host or hostess takes the seat at the narrow end of the table, and if their partner or co-host is there, they take the opposite end. The guest of honour sits to the host’s right. The host may say grace, or offer some sort of religious blessing. If you’re not comfortable joining in, it’s good manners to sit silently and observe. Some hosts may raise a glass to toast a guest, which you should join in with. Clinking your glass with another guest’s is not necessary.

3. Napkins or serviettes

Always remove them from the table and place them on your lap. If you leave the table to use the bathroom, the napkin can be left on your chair. When your meal is finished, the napkin goes back on the table, on the left side of your plate.

4. Cutlery

Don’t pick up your cutlery until everyone has been served. If there’s more than one set of knives and forks, you start from the set on the outside, and work in, towards the plate. During the meal, if you need to stop eating temporarily, point your knife and fork into the centre of your plate, crossing over at the tines of the fork. When you’ve finished eating, the knife and fork sit parallel to each other, with the handles pointing to about 4 o’clock.

5. Passing dishes of food

It’s good manners to pass the serving bowl anti-clockwise, unless a person across the table has specifically asked for it. If you’re passing a loaf of bread, cut yourself a few slices (Ideally without touching the bread) which can be shared with the person on your left, before passing the loaf on. Your bread plate should be on your left.

6. The end of the meal

Once the meal is finished, what happens depends on your venue. At a restaurant or formal venue, there will be staff to take away plates. At somewhere more casual, it’s down to the host or hostess to clear away, although it’s fine for one or two of the guests to help. Traditionally, the signal that the meal is over is for the host or hostess to place their napkin on the table, stand, and suggest everyone leaves the table for coffee in another room.

7. After the event

While you should always thank your host or hostess as you leave, formal events call for a written thank you note, simply thanking them for the meal, and noting something you particularly enjoyed. This should be sent within a couple of days of the event.

There are plenty of other common sense rules, which are probably obvious, such as turning off your mobile phone before the meal begins, keeping elbows off the table, and not talking with food in your mouth.

Now you’re ready to sit down at even the finest restaurant and enjoy your meal like a true society maven. If you didn’t get your invitation to Harry and Meghan’s big day, we’re sure you’ll find somewhere to put your skills into action, and it could well be one of the many restaurants which Banksford supply!