By Jill Diver
DERRY — T-Bones owners Tom Boucher and Mark Fenske decided that instead of making the restaurant chain’s 25th birthday a one-day event, they would make it a year-long celebration in which their customers and local New Hampshire charities would be able to benefit.
“We’re trying to make it fun and we’re trying to make people informed about what makes T-Bones unique,” said Boucher.
T-Bones began as a single restaurant in Salem in 1984, The chain, which also includes Cactus Jack’s, now has eight restaurants throughout southern New Hampshire.
Now T-Bones serves approximately 30,000 people a week. According to Boucher, these diners often leave with a better understanding of work done and services offered by the charities the restaurant partners with.
“Right before Thanksgiving we choose a different non-profit every year for our ‘Thanks for Giving’ fundraiser,” said Boucher. “That is probably one of the most enjoyable phone calls to make. I literally pick up the phone and call the executive director of that charity and say ‘guess what you’ve been chosen for our Thanks for giving and we’re going to raise funds for you.’”
Earlier this year, T-Bones offered “A Sweetheart of a Deal,” a fundraiser where customers donated $5 to The CareGivers at any T-Bones or Cactus Jack’s restaurant and they received a $10 dining certificate to be used on a future visit.
The team at T-Bones chose to support The CareGivers, a Derry-based non-profit organization that serves the needs of area senior citizens, about five years ago because the chain is popular among seniors. In fact, the menu has a whole section called Gold55 which gives senior citizens $2 off the price of their meal and a complimentary beverage.
“Over the years T-Bones has been a great partner to The CareGivers,” said Donny Guillemette, executive director of The CareGivers, Inc. “They have raised over $65,000 for our agency. They have also participated as a vendor in our Chocolate Lovers Fantasy Event. Because of their support over the past years, we have been able to add programs and expand our services exponentially. They are the best community partner a non-profit agency could ask for!”
Boucher believes that going out to dinner can help raise funds for just about anything.
“I actually solicited Gov. Lynch to proclaim Sept. 21 N.H. Restaurant day last year and he did,” said Boucher. “I’m hoping he’ll do it again. The whole point is to go out to eat and to help end childhood hunger. Last year we raised $5,000.”
If customers love going out to eat at T-Bones and Cactus Jack’s and frequent the restaurant enough they may be chosen to receive a limited edition 25th anniversary T-shirt that allows them to receive 25 percent off their bill for up to six people for the rest of the year.
Other events at T-Bones include the “Made from scratch” quarterly recipe contest. Winners of the recipe contests can win a $100 or $25 gift certificate and at the end of the year the grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 T-Bones/Cactus Jack’s gift certificate.
This story ran in the April 7, 2009 issue of NH Lets Go.