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Thread: Pancake Breakfast Revenue Question

  1. #1
    N404CX's Avatar
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    Pancake Breakfast Revenue Question

    Would anyone care to comment on the revenue generated by a pancake breakfast?

    Could you also mention what you charge, how many guests you get, and anything else that would be helpful.

    Back in the day, EAA 723, Camarillo CA, put on the airshow and we've been scratching our heads ever since that quit to find new income.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. #2

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    I would say it depends on the airfield. I went to one pancake breakfast and not many showed up. Maybe a handful. I then flew into another not 30 mins away from the first, on a different weekend. The place was packed full with a line outside and around the building. I sat there eating for maybe 20 mins and the line never did get small but seemed to grow.

    So I would say it depends on the airfield and the community it is located in. This town came out and supported this little airstrip. Both airstrip are located in small towns or communities with a population of just a few thousand in each.

    Sorry I can not give you more info or what you are looking for.

    Tony Sweet
    Last edited by 1600vw; 04-02-2016 at 05:08 AM.

  3. #3
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    I don't think our chapter did well with a pancake breakfast by itself. We do well when it's coupled with one of our small (chapter) fly ins. Even then you can lose big time if the weather goes bust on you. One year I must have opened 300 eggs cooking and we did well. The other year, it was IFR and things were slow enough that we could cook eggs to order.

  4. #4
    L16 Pilot's Avatar
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    Small local private (sort of) airstrip owned by the flying club. When the weather is good we serve around 250-300. When the weather is less than perfect we usually still have a good turnout due to community support. Probably 30-30 fly in's. I think the "suggested donation" is $5 per head and most seem to give at least that much if not a little more. Not so much a 'money maker' but kind of community event as any profits are used for airport improvements. Many are EAA members so we've tied it to Young Eagle flights in the past but unsure about this year. Liability is always a concern so we try to run a safe event as possible.

    EAA at the bigger city up the road doesn't seem to do as well basically because they don't appear to have the community support. Not because of lack of trying and I think the fly ins are less due to pilots not wanting to deal with the tower operation which really shouldn't be a concern.
    If God had intended man to fly He would have given us more money!

  5. #5
    PaulDow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    One year I must have opened 300 eggs cooking and we did well.
    One of the best things I ever got for the chapter was one of these cheap egg crackers. Just put in the egg, squeeze, then flip the shells into the trash.
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/EZ-Cracker...rator/19504020
    Name:  eggcracker.jpg
Views: 791
Size:  10.5 KB

  6. #6

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    Dear N404CX,
    My Chapter puts on a Fly-in breakfast every month through the summer, 7 times, and we are a very small group. We serve pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, OJ, coffee and we charge $6.00 each and half that for kids. If the kids show up in scout uniforms then breakfast is free. We also provide a small gift for the kids as well, a Styrofoam airplane or parachuting trolls or something like that. We get that stuff from Oriental Trading. The pancakes are the complete mix, just add water and the eggs are the liquid variety. We get about 300 people unless the weather screws us. We can, usually, handle at least one rainout maybe two. We cannot do real eggs because 300 people or so in two hours won't allow it. We did all sorts of things in years gone by and found this works best. It takes a dedicated group but is pretty rewarding to see all those smiling faces. Nowadays, the antique cars and a bunch of motorcycles show up and just add to the show along with the 15 or so aircraft that fly in. If it's done right everybody wins. We're in Massachusetts.
    Chuck

  7. #7
    FastEddie's Avatar
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    We have been doing Pancake Breakfasts every month in the Summer for about 9-10 years. We do between 250-350 breakfasts per event (weather dependent), charge $7 for adults, $4 for kids, and profit averages about $1000 per event.

    We put up signs along the roads to advertise the week before the event in addition to internet ads on local websites, community section in the local papers, SocialFlight, EAA calendar, AOPA calendar, etc. We run a YE rally at the same time as the breakfast. We get far more drive-ins than fly-ins.

    It took at least 5 years for us to build up to these levels, but now we are known thoughout the area for our monthly events.

    Our secret is consistency. Pancake batter is mixed the same every time, coffee, juice & milk machines are always full, event always happens on the same dates (2nd Sunday of the month, 7am-11:30am), we always use the same brand sausages and ham, signs always go up at the same intercections, etc. Plus, with YE airplanes in motion, there's always airplanes moving around for people to see. We even put out a few "bags" games on the ramp (corn-hole for the Southern folk) to keep people entertained.

    My best advise is to advertise local, don't over buy food supplies but have someone ready to go out shopping if things go better than expected, learn something from every event. If we have extra eggs, we sell them for $1 a dozen to any takers and always sell out. We started out with borrowed grills, tables, etc. in a member's hangar and now have our own hangar with a full kitchen.

    Good Luck!

    Ed Myers
    President, Chapter 1414

  8. #8
    Jim Heffelfinger's Avatar
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    Chapter 52 - Sacramento,CA @ KDWA ( Yolo County Airport) Chapter has been flipping summer months since the very early years. Currently we charge $6.00 was $5 for decades. 2 eggs any style, 2 pieces of country bacon, 2-3 pancakes, small juice, coffee, tea. Frequently a member brings an additional side. We clear about $650 after expenses.
    We have a very generous member who brings in 5-6 items for a raffle every month. It pulls in an additional $500 or so. This year we have added a high end raffle prize for a premium ticket. Current conversations include a price increase along with an upgraded menu.
    Chapter participation is waning as it ages ( like most chapters) . Executive board is currently working on a master plan for recruitment and retention, in addition to many other goals, for 3, 5 and 10 year plans. . We just got a fence and gates - working with county for open access for our events including pancakes. Airport will go through an expansion as business owners and pilots see the closing of University Airport (Davis) on the horizon.
    JIm

    Update: C 52 has added custom omelets to the menu for a dollar more. This has been wildly accepted as a real enhancement to the traditional pancakes and eggs.
    We set up three single burner stove stations and make to order with a full range of fillings.
    Last edited by Jim Heffelfinger; 08-15-2016 at 09:30 AM. Reason: Update

  9. #9
    Many questions from someone (me) who is considering organizing something like regular fly-in pancake breakfasts:
    Does anyone deal with "Food Permits" from their local government such as county or city? Are your cooking facilities inspected and approved by any legal entity such as county inspector? What kind of kitchens or cooking apparatus (regular stove/oven, propane stoves or camping stoves) do you use? Do you serve to the general public (i.e.: anyone who flies-in or walks-in off the street), or do you serve only within your club "family?" Has anyone had to deal with "liability" issues?
    Last edited by Mark van Wyk; 04-15-2016 at 10:42 AM.

  10. #10

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    Kind of a late reply (in more ways than one) to this thread.

    We are a small Chapter at a small, short strip airport. We have been doing three breakfasts a year for quite a few years. I do not think we have ever broken 100 attendees except when we specifically did a fundraiser for two kids going to EAA's Air Academy and they brought in a lot of family and friends.

    - We net between $300 and $500
    - We advertise a lot
    - We are consistent with same food everytime
    - Charge $7 or $8, lots give us more, less for kids
    - We have a high particpation rate from members, We could do a better job of assigning tasks
    - Last event was our largest with 34 planes flying in, it close to our capacity manpower, facilities, and ramp space
    - We have upgraded our kitchen to where is would be close to 'code'. This is an ongoing process and we are lucky in that we have a plumber who is very good at scrounging up deals/used equipment.
    - Since we are asking for donations, we have not had to deal with health inspections yet. I heard that another larger local flyin/food event got into trouble over lack of a liquor license (beer), not sure about the food. We have been keeping a low profile.
    - Liability, request the insurance thru EAA. Online form on the website. Simple and does not take much time. Response is USUALLY quick, one to three days.
    - We have always made money, even in January when only one plane flew in. If you have access to a freezer, lots of supplies can be kept for the next time. Really the only thing that cannot keep is the eggs, and we sell any leftovers for $1/dozen.

    A couple of things that I have seen/heard done wrong:
    - Poor to non-existent advertising, if they do not know about it they will not come.
    - Unfriendly 'staff'. We often get comments that we are very friendly
    - Poor advertising giving incomplete details/information
    - Food not prepared well
    - Non-existent advertising

    One final thing, ADVERTISE. EAA, AOPA, and many type clubs all have sections on their websites where you can advertise events. There are websites dedicated to listing flyin events. Social flight, fly-ins.com,...... Make sure your ads are clear and complete. Who, What, When (full date w/ year), Where with airport identifyer and nearest town including state.
    EAA 745 - White Bear Lake MN

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