By Mariam Jehangir
While other places were hoping to bring in the Cinco de Mayo crowd for some extra revenue on Saturday, the in town was hoping to get customers in order to raise money for a more worthy cause.
The teamed up with Taco Bell for the second time to sell a one-day-only special edition product called the EnCHEESElada, as part of a fundraising effort. Fifteen percent of sales between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. went to the club. By the end of the event, the club wound up with $200.
The EnCHEESElada was created last year by a group of youngsters from the Boys & Girls Club when they took part in Taco Bell’s business camp in Irvine, where they got to see the corporate side of the fast-food chain.
Their participation didn’t end there. The boys and girls from the club worked the event on Saturday in shifts with the regular staff by taking and serving orders, keeping the restaurant clean, and by even donning and dancing in some very cool taco and hot-sauce packet outfits outside to lure people in.
The store manager, Christopher Andrews, explained the uniqueness of the Laguna Beach location in putting these fundraisers together.
“The Taco Bell [corporation] does [business camp] with a lot of clubs, but after camp’s over, that’s it. So Steve Smith, our franchisee, partnered with the Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club to give these kids an opportunity to put their business skills that they learned to use even further,” by allowing them to sell the product in-store.
He was sure to give credit where it was due however, driving home the point that it is these kids who do the work to raise the money for their club.
“They did all the promotional material, they did all the marketing, the only thing I did was give them a platform,” he said.
Lexi Medoza, 15, one of the teens who helped create the EnCHEESElada at camp and also worked this event for her second time, said that working at these fundraisers has been a good learning experience for her.
“It’s a good way to prepare for having a job by actually doing the work first. I’m gonna be turning 16, so having this work experience before most people even start to work is helpful because now I already have the training, so I’m ready.”
And it is clear that these teens are indeed learning a lot from this experience.
In between joking around, having conversations about school dances and the previous night’s baseball game, they were very vigilant in what was going on around them. They happily greeted customers, served them in a professional and timely manner, handed out balloons to little children outside, and even took care of potential hazards when one spotted a leak by the fountain machine, setting up a caution sign and alerting the regular staff to prevent it from becoming too big a problem.
Miguel Contreras, the assistant director of the Boys & Girls club, praised the Taco Bell for its generosity in the day’s and previous events and for the relationship the Laguna Beach location has cultivated with the club over the years.
Said Contreras, “For you, it’s just another Taco Bell, but to us it’s a lot more.”