Some people think they would someday like to own a restaurant, because it would be fun, but Alan Billingsley may have changed some minds. 
Notes from the December 28 weekly meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
recorded by Tom McClellan
We are now halfway through the Rotary year, and President Becky Newton has not yet failed to start a meeting right on time.  As is her custom, she thanked our ace setter uppers, David Cotant, Tom Faubion, and Mike KillenJeannie Hill kicked things off with some notes of inspiration:
1. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.  - - - Martin Luther King
2. We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity, and its first chapter is New Year's Day.  - - - Edith Lovejoy Pierce
We had one guest, Gretchen Allen’s son Brian.  There was thankfully no sunshine to report.
Foundation Director Georgene Mellom reminded everyone that there were just 2 days left to get your donation in to the Rotary Foundation to have it count in the 2022 tax year. 
Membership Director Gretchen Allen noted that she is still following up on two leads for new members.  And if we are really going to grow our club, every member needs to be helping by nominating good people. 
Future Programs
Jan. 4     Michelle Tirhi, District Biologist, Pierce County
Jan. 11   Matt Costanti, New Developments in Waste Recycling
Jan. 18   Desniege Haywood, Tacoma Rescue Mission
Diane Formoso sends word that the Happy Hearts Dinner Auction benefiting Caring For Kids will be held Saturday, February 11th at the Clover Park Technical College McGavick Center at 5:00 P.M. The tickets are ready and we want to fill the room. The tickets are $45 and we have tables for ten.
We have been working with the schools, community food banks and organizations. Working with the schools in Clover Park, Steilacoom and University Place we provide new clothes, emergency food, hygiene products, school supplies, new books, blow up beds, blankets, pillows, McDonalds gift cards to homeless, Growing Up is Fun bags, and color books and crayons to the food banks for the holidays. For the Holiday Fair we helped over 800 families with gifts and our three Ready to Learn Fairs in August were a success.
We are working hard to make a difference in our community. I hope you will help us!  If you would like to donate a live or silent auction item or buy tickets please contact Diane at 253-279-9777 or email at
President’s Minute
Becky Newton thanked all of the members for their generosity in the Christmas shopping event, the gift-wrapping event, and the preparation of the Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets.  She noted that our club’s service sets us apart from a lot of other Rotary Clubs, and so it was fun last week (Dec. 21) to just have a fun meeting and White Elephant gift exchange. 
On the subject of service, our club historian and sergeant at arms, David Cotant, shared a brief story about our club’s involvement in founding a neuroscience center at Mary Bridge Hospital.  About 20 years ago, a past president of our club had 2 family members with multiple sclerosis.  When she was attending the Rotary International Conference, she met some Rotarians who had a Rotary Action Group in support of people with that disease.  This inspired her to get the club behind supporting expanded care for multiple sclerosis at Multicare, but the Tacoma General Hospital staff had a larger vision.  They wanted to develop a special clinic for all neurological sciences, including MS.  Our club raised $60k, and that was enough to allow Multicare to solicit more support from the Cheney Foundation, Roman Meal, and other foundations.  They turned our club’s $60k donation into $2.5 million to renovate a space on the main floor, big enough to hold all of the necessary functions so that patients did not have to wander around departments of the hospital. 
Fun And Fines
Jim Hairston was our guest finemaster this week, and started out with a $2 Rat On A Rotarian (ROAR), with Teresa Nye noting that Scott Adams had appeared on the 6PM news.  Scott clarified that the West Pierce Fire and Rescue members had responded to the “king tide” flooding on Day Island.  Scott said he was pretty cold being out in the December weather.  No fine was levied despite the “ink”.  But the $2 for the ROAR was still assessed.
Alan Billingsley provided his “tithe” for having defied the 1/30 odds last week to draw the lone remaining ace in the deck to win the raffle.  
This Week’s Program
Alan then kept the microphone, and segued into this week’s presentation, talking about how Covid changed the restaurant and food service industries.  Alan noted that he got a degree in business in economics from UW, and for some reason all of his kids have gone into the restaurant business, with Alan's daughter Ellie Carr owning Carr’s Restaurant with husband Chris Carr.  And Alan’s son Ian and daughter-in-law Katelyn Billingsley together own Moonrise Café.  As a father and investor, Alan gets to do some of the accounting work for both businesses. 
Alan noted that in part because of Covid, his own business, Paktek, Inc. ( has gone from 2800 physical stores selling his products to just 400.  Online orders have replaced physical stores. 
At Carr’s Restaurant, the Covid closure meant an opportunity for big remodeling.  The back banquet room turned into storage space, and an area for catering prep.  Catering jobs are more profitable, and more predictable than a conventional restaurant.  Carr’s cut in half the number of tables in the main dining room, and took out the bar. 
To stay alive during the Covid shutdown, Carr’s did deliveries and takeout orders.  The 3 main food delivery services are Doordash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats.  They each take 30% off the gross, leaving only about 15% gross profit for the restaurant.  Gov. Insley mandated only a 10% fee for food delivery during Covid, but that is over and they are back to 30%. 
McDonalds created its own app to keep the markup. 
One effect of serving the delivery industry is delays to the dining room service because the kitchen prepares orders as they come in.  A good way around this if you want to order takeout from a restaurant is to call in your order, to get ahead of the line while you are en route. 
Alan noted that 30% of Americans use a food delivery service at least weekly, and among 18-29 year olds it is 63%.  This has created more jobs for drivers, but they do not make very much after accounting for gasoline and vehicle mileage costs.  People order online to avoid cooking.  Ordering delivery creates a lot of waste, in terms of packaging. 
Carr’s had to give up doing dinner service, because they cannot find enough staff.  This is despite offering $20/hour in salary, and servers typically make another $20/hour in tips. 
The City of Lakewood helped a lot, funneling Covid relief money to small businesses to keep them open, and keep staff employed.  Alan stated that it would help a lot of some level of government would once again limit the amount that third party delivery apps can charge. 
Raffle: With $80 in the new pot, President Becky Newton had the winning ticket, but could not draw one of the 4 aces in the new deck.  She did not seem pleased. 
And Finally… A word from your meeting notes recorder:
Now that I have gotten this weekly eBulletin out a few hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve, it is time to attend to the other tasks I had planned for this year before it ends.  I only have a few hours to learn French, write a book, and lose 8 pounds.  Wish me luck.