April 16, 2007

Applebee's: Giving what they can every month

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

The third Saturday of every month is a special morning for each organization that walks through the Delano Applebee’s doors, but the co-workers are left with an even greater feeling of joy and compassion towards others.

Delano Applebee’s opened its doors June 5, 2005. As a store, it sponsors a different organization every month by hosting a pancake breakfast.

Applebee’s is nationally required to put on one pancake breakfast every year, but the managers of Delano Applebee’s decided from the start that they would do them every month because it would be a bigger benefit by helping more than one organization.

Three of the four current managers, Jennifer Barkmeier, Tonia Persons, and Cassie Michl, initially came from the Buffalo Applebee’s. Joining the team that opening summer, Lindsey Roeske became the fourth manager of the store.

Aside from providing the space, Delano Applebee’s also purchases and prepares the food. The staff members donate their time. One-hundred percent of the proceeds goes directly towards the organization.

“We started the pancake breakfast back in Buffalo,” Barkmeier said. “We ultimately started it for a manager that had cancer. It was a huge success. It grew closer into the community with us when we moved to Delano and opened the store, it was a group consensus that we would commit to doing it every month.”

As far as the interaction with people goes, Persons commented, “I think it is rewarding to give back to the community, and meet new contacts.”

Roeske also said, “It’s really good for the community and the people are really appreciative of it. It’s also fun to go count the money and hand it all to them.”

Others who frequently work the breakfasts include Melissa Hoel, Barb Wendel, Judith Stein, Adam Biel, and Jeremy Tesch.

Biel and Tesch handle all the cooking, and Stein, Wendel, Hoel, and others will greet the guests and deliver food.

When asked about the guest service, Stein replied, “The biggest part about the restaurant business is the people. I just really love being a part of it.”

Hoel also likes how the breakfasts target a different organization every month.

“It’s nice that a different group has a chance at being benefited every month. It’s helping out the small organizations that wouldn’t normally receive as much funding,” Hoel said.

Agreeing, Biel also said, “I think it’s great for organizations to know that there’s a company they can turn to if they need help. It’s also really great knowing that you’re giving to a different organization every month so it offers more diversity.”

Both Biel and Tesch enjoy donating their time.

“It gives me some satisfaction to know that I gave to the community,” Tesch said.

“I love it because it offers me a way to give to the community without them knowing that I did. It’s at work, but it’s not a work environment,” Biel added.

Michl could not say enough about the staff in general.

“It’s their free time and we (the managers) are so grateful for them,” Michl said.

Delano Applebee’s continues to search for new ways to help the community. Persons, who is the primary organizer for all Applebee’s fundraisers, hopes to put together a team for the upcoming Relay for Life benefit in Delano.

“I’m constantly looking in the paper for volunteer opportunities, but without the management support, the pancake breakfasts would not have been a success,” Persons said.

In the past, they have sponsored families at Christmas, and also have regularly given gift certificates to companies.

“Everybody needs help at some point in their life. We’re just happy to make a difference,” Roseke said.

The breakfast, itself, provides pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, and the choice of soft drink or juice. Tickets are available through each organization for $5 apiece.

The all-night graduation party committee will be having an Applebee’s breakfast Saturday, April 21. Tickets are available through Linda Zimmermann at (763) 972-3037. Breakfast starts at 8 a.m.

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