Inside Iowa State

Inside Archives

Submit news

Send news for Inside to, or call (515) 294-7065. See publication dates, deadlines.

About Inside

Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

November 4, 2005

Dining promotion reaps multiple benefits

by Dan Kuester

Last month, when the staff of the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom -- the student-run, lunch-only eatery in MacKay Hall -- decided to hold a fund-raiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina, they decided it would be a great time to highlight the restaurant's new Monday hours.

What they didn't anticipate was the tremendous increase in business.

"Before the fund-raiser, we averaged about 30 reservations on Mondays," said John Kramer, coordinator of the tearoom and lecturer in the hotel, restaurant and institution management program. "Now on Mondays, depending on the menu, we have about 45 to 50 reservations."

Some might say the jump in business is due to good karma the tearoom established through the fund-raiser and participation in the nationally organized "Dine for America" that involved more than 17,000 restaurants nationwide.

Between the two fund-raisers, the tearoom collected almost $700 for hurricane relief.

"Unlike many of the other restaurants in Dine for America, we gave 100 percent of the money to the Red Cross," said Kramer. "Not 100 percent after food costs or after labor costs, but 100 percent of what we brought in."

The restaurant has 100 seats, but 80 people is considered a full house, Kramer said. Even with the promotion, Monday remains the least busy day of the week for the tearoom. Tuesday to Friday lunches regularly fetch crowds of 70 to 80.

The tearoom expanded its hours to include a Monday seating due to increased enrollment in the courses that are responsible for the restaurant. The tearoom is open Monday through Friday with a noon seating each day. Call 4-3330 to reserve a spot.


In two October fund-raisers, the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom collected almost $700 for hurricane relief.