The Boosted Volunteer Podcast is a wealth of information on how to make your booster club safer and more productive. In a recent episode, we sat down with Jon Bonnell, owner of Bonnell’s Restaurant Group.

Bonnell shared some great tips on keeping food safe and making more money while running concession stands.

Tips for Maintaining Proper Food Temperatures

Bonnell pointed out that food needs to stay approximately 135 degrees Fahrenheit to keep it safe and prevent the growth of foodborne illnesses. He says that foil is king when it comes to keeping foods at safe temperatures after cooking. Applying foil covering to food as soon as it comes off the grill or flattop will keep it at the right temperature for longer, ensuring it’s safe to eat when customers come knocking.

He also suggested keeping one of your flat-top or grill burners on low and placing the foil-covered pans on them. This is particularly useful if you are in a cold environment that will cool down food faster. 

Maximizing Profits With Efficient Food Choices

Bonnell also spoke about the importance of making efficient food choices. He said that booster club events aren’t the time for experimenting. Instead, focus on foods you are comfortable with, such as ground beef, chicken, hot dogs, and sausages. 

Bonnell also mentioned the value of tacos. He is a fan of tacos because they are filling but use very little protein, which helps keep costs down. That said, if you go light on the protein, you’ve got to provide tons of flavor. Don’t skimp on toppings. 

Are Flat Tops the Best Choice?

When asked Bonnell about his go-to cooking tool, he raved about flat tops. In his opinion, they are the most versatile option for cooking fast, maintaining heat, and serving a lot of people in a concession setting. If you are looking for an equipment upgrade, he suggests checking out the Blackstone or a similar flat cooking system that offers simplicity and reliability.

Bonnell is also fond of smokers. With a smoker, you can prepare lots of food in advance, wrap it in foil, and keep it at a safe temperature for hours. Smokers are also great for community events and food festivals. A high-quality smoker is an excellent investment for your booster club. 

Handling Payments

Keeping food safe is only half the battle. You also need an efficient way to sell the food you prepare so you can maximize revenue. Cash may still be the preferred option of many booster clubs, but today’s consumers like paying via card. Therefore, you need to offer both.

When implementing card payment solutions, focus on systems that can accept digital wallet transactions, too. The more types of payments you accept, the easier it will be to hit your revenue goals. 

Applying These Strategies

Listen to the Boosted Volunteer Podcast for more insights from Bonnell and other industry experts. Make a list of strategies and best practices so you can integrate them into your booster club game plan. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting fundraising home runs for your school!