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If you didn’t hear, this past weekend’s Cryptic Council Steak & Egg Breakfast fundraiser was a HUGE success. The feedback I received from many who attended was that they loved the new menu items (hashbrown potatoes, fresh orange juice and flavored liquid coffee creamers), really liked having fresh linens on the tables, thought the use of calling out people’s first name when delivering the breakfast (instead of a number) was a nice touch and that the overall environment of the Temple seemed warmer and more inviting.

Seems like we’re doing something right!

So, we’re going to mix it up a bit this fall, Brothers. We’re going to go back to eight full cooking teams, with 8 to 12 guys on a team. We discovered there’s a need for a couple of guys in the kitchen devoted to putting breakfast plates together and keeping things moving along. Also, we’ll need two or more runners who will deliver breakfast as well as bus tables. And at least one person to act as a sort of public relations rep, checking in with everyone to see how they are doing and if they need anything.

Some other changes you can look forward to:

Mixing up the menu. We’re keeping the hashbrown potatoes, fresh orange juice and flavored coffee creamers on as full-time additions. We’re also adding small boxes of assorted cereal for purchase — something our surveying says will satisfy kids. But also expect to see us experiment with some new menu items from time to time:

  • Ham-off-the-bone and bacon in addition to our traditional pork sausage links.
  • Blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes.
  • Made-to-order omelettes.
  • Bagels with cream cheese.
  • Breakfast casseroles.
  • Waffles with toppings.

Our surveying tells us people want more than just the same old thing week after week. So, if you’re on a team, get ready for some new items.

Pricing options. Right off the bat, we’re increasing the cost of our “standard” breakfast (pancakes or french toast, sausage links, eggs, toast, hashbrown potatoes, fresh OJ, milk and coffee) to $7. Even at that price, it’s a huge bargain.

We’re also considering a price for a children’s meal, more clearer a la carte pricing and probably a family meal price (likely $20 for two adults and up to four kids under 16). We’ll be managing portions better, though, limiting egg orders initially to three and sausages to four. If people want more, they can reorder.

Hours. We may have some breakfasts that start later, at maybe 8 or 8:30 and go to noon or even 1 p.m. as a sort of Sunday brunch. Again, larger team sizes will be critical here as we may have an early team and a later team.

Treating people better. We’re going to use the table linens each week for a nicer presentation. We’ll call people by their name rather than a number when we deliver breakfasts. We’ll go around offering additional pancakes and seeing if they need anything else.

Special breakfasts. Three times a year, we’ll have a special autumn breakfast, a holiday-themed breakfast and a spring brunch with upgraded food choices, activities for kids and maybe some other programs or take-aways. The idea here is to do well for the community, improve people’s perception of our organization and encourage more frequent visits to breakfasts and other fundraisers.

Surveying and counting. We’ll have short surveys for everyone to fill out. We want to know how we’re doing, whether they were satisfied with the food choices and quality and whether they have suggestions or would like to see other menu items. We’ll also collect up the order slips and monitor who’s ordering what, what’s popular and find where we’re wasting money.

Building fund promotion. It’s no lie. Our Temple is in real need up updating, maintenance and improvement. Years of neglect are showing and few seem to have pride in a place that we all spend so much time in. That changes this year. You’ve probably seen some of the improvements (new paint scheme, rearranged areas, less clutter, etc.). More are on the way.

It’s the maintenance that is killing us though, Brothers. So to build our funds to when the roof needs to be replaced ($35,000), parking lot resurfaced ($10,000), a new air conditioner or furnace or some other unforeseen need, we’ll place a basket out each week asking for donations to the Temple Building Fund.

Promotion of other events. There’s one thing about us Masons — we love to eat. We also like to be generous to charity and have our own internal needs of the organization. We have a lot of fundraisers and we need to increase awareness.

Also, we have men there at our Temple who may be considering joining. We’ll promote Get-to-Know-Us Nights and other events to let these guys know we’re the best organization in town to become a part of.

Getting the word out. You’ll soon see a new, permanent yard sign out in front of the Temple. We’ll have announcements in the local newspapers. And you’ll hear us on the radio as well as other places. In short, we’re pulling out the stops to bring people in every week. If you’re use to 40 to 50 people at breakfast, expect at least double that amount this year, if not more.

As you can see, there are many changes coming to our Sunday breakfasts. Expect a lot of experimentation and trying of things and ideas. To that end, if you have comments, thoughts or any other ideas, do please let me know.

Jim Tome
DeKalb Masonic Temple Association