Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Supporters get to the Point

Business increases at training restaurant

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - The Point Restaurant and Catering Co. put out a plea last month for help in staying afloat, and people have responded.

Jennifer Rawe, a trainee at The Point Restaurant, serves lunch to Terry Hughes (left) and Richard Kenkel.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
The 22-year-old restaurant in the heart of downtown Covington at 45 Pike St. serves as a training ground for developmentally disabled adults. But for the past five years, the restaurant has been in the red, and operators asked the public in the agency's April newsletter to help erase the restaurant's $65,000 deficit.

"We know we're never going to make money at the restaurant,'' said Greg Gannon, media director/special projects director for The Point/Arc of Northern Kentucky. "But we'd like that deficit to be between $30,000 and $40,000, as opposed to ($65,000).''

Since the nonprofit agency's newsletter went out, the restaurant's box lunch business has more than doubled, said Judi Gerding, the agency's executive director.

In April, the restaurant sold 179 box lunches, she said. For the first three weeks of May, the restaurant sold 380.

The Point also has taken orders for 300 more box lunches through September, mostly for corporate meetings and functions.

"There's so little walk-in trade that our real increase has to be as a result of box-lunch orders,'' Gerding said. "We're shooting to average 250 a week.''

Gerding would like to see weekly box-lunch sales in factories and possibly at the airport.

Orders of 10 or more of the $5 lunches ($5.50 with a soft drink) are delivered free.

The Point also is working to promote its catering business, which is about one-fourth of what it was three years ago, said Carol Brock, the agency's financial director.

"I don't think it has anything to do with service or quality,'' Brock said. "It just wasn't being promoted in the past. It was out of sight, out of mind.''

This month, the restaurant also has gotten five sponsors willing to pay $500 apiece to sponsor a trainee.

An elderly Fort Wright man even brought in $27 in pennies.

"He gave us 2,700 pennies, all in rolls of 50,'' Gerding said.

"When he read about the restaurant's financial problems, he said, 'I just had to contribute.' It's that kind of participation that makes us click.''

How to help

• Order box lunches for groups of 10 or more.

• Cater social activities and meetings.

• Sponsor a trainee with a $500 donation.

• Rent The Point Restaurant for meetings of up to 40 people.

• Bring families, friends or business contacts to The Point Restaurant to eat breakfast or lunch.

• To learn more about The Point Restaurant, call (859) 491-0602.


E-mail cschroeder@enquirer.com

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