In our ongoing attempt to be transparent with all things fiscal that began with the presentation about our “Three Buckets” of money — Club Budget, Club Foundation and RI Foundation — today, we would like to address the subtle and not-so-subtle aspects about paying for lunch.
“Meal Income” and “Catering Expense” are the two largest items in our Club Budget. First, the basics: We have arranged with Chef Antonio at EMQ/FF to prepare our lunches almost every Tuesday throughout the year. In order to insure that we have enough food and that EMQ/FF gets a fair price, we guarantee to pay for 55 meals each week, at a cost of $8.50, and Chef Antonio prepares enough delicious food for at least 55 people.
Some meetings we have more people, some meetings we have fewer. There is no way to determine accurately, how many people will walk in for a Tuesday meeting. Will all members attend? Who will bring a guest? How many Visiting Rotarians will there be? Who knows? So, we agreed on the number 55, which is pretty close, most weeks.
We charge members $10 per meal — whether you eat or not; whether you attend or not. Two exceptions here: If you miss one of our meetings and attend a “make-up” meeting at another club, and pay for your lunch there, you are given a “credit” of $10 for the meal you paid for at the other club. So, if you do make up at another club, be sure to inform Secretary Dave Crowley that you did so.
The second exception is if you are an “Exempt” member (aka “Senior Active” or “Rule of 85”) you are billed only for the meals at meetings you attend.
Visiting Rotarians pay $15 for lunch with us. If you have ever made up at another Bay Area club, you know that this a real bargain for our Visiting Rotarians!
But, what if you bring a guest? Guests pay, or you pay for them, the same rate as Visiting Rotarians. For example, for our Valentine’s meeting, I invited Pam to join us for lunch. I paid the $15 for her lunch. If your brother-in-law from Toledo is in town for a visit or your business colleague is in from Denver and you want to bring them to lunch, please do, and pay the $15 for them at the door with Treasurer Kathy Williamson.
Now, if your guest is a potential club member, they are allowed up to three free lunchesso they can find out more about us and get a feel if we are a good fit for them. After their third “visit,” the expectation is that they will either submit an application to join or that you or they will pay the $15 for a visitor’s lunch.
So, if all goes well, the club plans to make a little money on lunches throughout the year to help pay for the day-to-day expenses and some of the surprise expenses of the club. But, nobody is getting rich off our lunches. Our guest speakers are, of course, treated to lunch as our guests.
Every Rotary Club handles meals differently. Our arrangement has been in effect for many years and seems, for the most part to work well for us. If you are passionate about doing things differently in the future, this would be a good time for you to volunteer for a leadership position on the Board of Directors, so you can help shape the future of lunches. Also, if you would like any other information about the workings of our club, send John an email and maybe your question will be answered in a future edition of “President’s Corner.”