- Set event goals. Some goals are to raise funds, to have an enjoyable social evening, and to celebrate a special event.
- Decide how many attendees you want to accommodate.
- Find a location that will accommodate your group. Some considerations are:
- Does it have a kitchen?
- Are alcoholic beverages allowed on the premises?
- What amenities does it provide (tables, chairs, etc.)?
- What dates is it available and do these fit your group’s calendar?
- Set the date. The best times of year in terms of price and quality for crab feeds are December through March. Crab is available year round, but the main Dungeness catch is from the middle of November until the beginning of May. Other seafood products, such as prawns and salmon, are good choices for the spring, summer, and early fall months. Several groups we supply do prawn feeds in the summer and report happy members and successful events.
- Ticket prices usually are between $25 to $50, depending on what is included in the dinner and the expectations of the group. The average I saw during the past winter was $35. Most of these included crab, pasta, salad, bread, and soda or wine. Some groups include wine but sell specialty beers and mixed drinks. Some sell all alcoholic beverages but provide soft drinks and coffee.
- Plan the activities. What is included in the evening is up to the group and what is usual for a fun event. Often groups who are using the evening as a fundraiser have raffles, silent and live auctions, etc. along with the crab feed. Many groups have dancing after the feed.
- How much crab to order? Most of our groups find that 3 lbs per person is about right. If a group is offering a more elaborate menu, then 2 1/2 lbs is about right. Crab is ordered as “whole cooked” crabs. It is cracked and cleaned to order. The price is based on the whole crab weight. The final delivered weight is about half the weight of the whole-cooked crab. Remember, the back shell and the inners of the crab will be removed.
- For the chef: Crab is delivered ready to serve. While some groups prepare individual portions for each diner, most of our groups set out bowls or trays of crab. This is more of an all-you-can-eat style, but we do not suggest advertising “all you can eat.” For some reason, some people take this as a challenge and forget that the purpose of the event is to raise funds or to have a good time. They think they are supposed to set a crab-eating record. This isn’t good for them or your group. (And we’re not exactly sure where such records are kept.)
- How your crab comes: Crab is delivered double-bagged in boxes with ice and jell packs. The boxes have plastic liners to help contain the ice and melting water. If you have a special way you want the crab cracked, let us know.
- It gets easier if your crab feed becomes an annual event. Your members and community come to expect and look forward to it, and it usually becomes more successful each year. The first time is definitely the hardest. Isn’t that true of most things?
We are sure we’ve left out lots. Please feel free to call and chat with us. Most of our customers are referrals. Besides being in the seafood business for over 30 years, we have been personally involved in doing fundraising events for our kid’s schools, sports teams, and church. While we are not experts at fundraising, we have found that the most funds are raised when an event also raises fun!
Thank you for your interest!
- Cydney Jones
- (415) 928-3474 – San Francisco
- (916) 863-0810 – Sacramento
P.S. The Sacramento number is probably the best one to reach me.