Although they won’t admit it, the team at the Salisbury Big Stop are local heroes. The Big Stop and Silver Fox Restaurant in Salisbury, New Brunswick, recently donated $101,640 to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. But this isn’t a one-time deal. The volunteers and staff have been using the restaurant to raise money for charity for years.
When Steve Lavoie took over the family business two years ago, he wanted to continue the tradition of giving back. Over the years, the restaurant had raised more than $1.2 million for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Now that he was in charge, the staff and volunteers decided it was time to go local.
“We picked the IWK Health Centre, because it serves all four provinces on the East Coast,” says Steve. “It’s a children’s hospital that does wonderful things. My nephew was there too, so it has a personal connection for me.”
How do they raise so much money?
Steve holds a major fundraiser each year, and his staff and the local community get in on the action. Over 132 days this year, 32 staff and non-staff volunteers sold raffle tickets outside the Big Stop for a 2016 Ford Mustang sports coupe, a trip for two anywhere WestJet flies, or an Apple iPad. On top of that, weekly 50/50 draws for staff, a donation box on the ticket table, and extra restaurant and personal ticket sales brought in more cash.
Once the prizes were paid for, the Salisbury Big Stop sent a big, fat cheque to the IWK Foundation.
“We wanted to go big and do it right,” he says. “Our parent company, the Irving Oil Group, really pushes us to help local charities. It’s a good thing we have their support.”
Why is Table 63 so hot?
When it comes to giving back, every little bit counts and Steve’s team knows that. This is why they donate 10% of table number 63’s monthly sales to a library, charity or struggling non-profit club in the Salisbury area. In September, the Salisbury Big Stop raised more than $1,200 for the Petitcodiac Kiwanis Club. The campaign is so popular, it has a two-year waitlist of organizations vying for said table’s bounties.
While giving back is fulfilling enough, Steve’s greatest reward comes from employee satisfaction. Even with a staff of 100, Steve has had very few staffing challenges. “My staff show pride in our workplace,” he says. “I get a good feeling when employees talk about the business as if it’s their own.”
Part of this success comes from making staff feel like an integral part of the business. For example, Steve makes sure an employee gets to present Table 63’s cheque to the charity of the month.
See you at the Big Stop!
Things tend to run pretty smoothly at the Salisbury Big Stop. So the next time you make a pit stop at the Big Stop, take a moment to enjoy the perks in the drivers’ lounge like showers, leather chairs, plush towels, and ice cream. Coming by in the summer? Stop and listen to the live music, courtesy of a volunteer local musician. And if you’re craving some comfort food, check out the Silver Fox Restaurant – just remember to ask for Table 63 if it’s available!
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For Steve, the biggest benefit of being a member is information. Restaurants Canada’s research and resources have helped him stay on top of trends and plan for the future. “I was looking for the next cool item to put on my menu, and I went with a fish taco dish after reading the member magazine,” says Steve.
He also values being a part of the community. “I like to know what other successful restaurants are doing, and learn from their stories,” he says.
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