Dining for Free Diabetes

We recently participated in a local effort dubbed "Dining for Diabetes" at multiple Chili's restaurants in Indianapolis and the surrounding suburbs, one that I understand has happened in other spots throughout the country. Basically, you print out an online voucher or coupon and 10% of your total bill is donated to the JDRF. It ran from Sunday to Thursday, and so we thought it would be a good worthwhile time to grab a meal there and take part in a good D-Cause. Of course, we waited until final day to head out to our local restaurant in Greenwood, on the city's southside.

However, our charitable meal attempt almost failed.

Arriving at the later part of the dinner-hour near 7 p.m., we saw a somewhat packed front lobby area and opted to sit in the bar area at a high-top table. This would ensure quicker service and an even more relaxed setting, we assumed, since it wasn't a very busy time and the bar area wasn't too full.

At first, it took way too long to even get a drink order placed. Two different waitresses acknowledged that we were there and greeted us, but failed to step away from whatever else they were doing to actually wait on us. Suzi and I had both waited tables at restaurants in the past, and so we take notice of the wait times - this instance wasn't justifiable, we concluded. Finally, someone came to take our drink orders and I was pleased to get a 23-ounce beer that could be considered colder and more frosted than I typically get. This was pleasing and made it worth the wait.

I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with some veggies, while Suzi ordered a chicken sandwich. Blood test showed a slightly elevated reading, so I did a SWAG on the carb count and excused myself for the meal and correction boluses injection and also my evening Lantus Pen shot.

On the way back to the table afterward, I crossed paths with a manager who was discussing meal comps with a hostess. I didn't think anything of it at the time. Returning to our table, I found Suzi there without any food present. She mentioned the food was taking longer than it should, and someone had come by and said it should be out soon. Within minutes, another lady came by and informed us that they were working on it in the kitchen. Minutes passed...

Finally, the manager I'd passed earlier emerged with our plates in hand and arrived at our table, apologizing and handing us the delayed food. Apparently, they'd messed up the chicken sandwich a couple times in the kitchen and had to redo the orders. Suddenly, I flashed to the previous conversation I'd heard him having with the hostess in the hallway, about comping meals.

My mind shifted to a specific thought while he was talking: "Uh oh.... What if they want to comp this meal??? What does that do for our 10% contribution to the JDRF??? You can't very well donate on a free meal."

While I normally am not one who's going to step away from a free meal if there's justification for it, this suddenly appeared to be a threat to our hope of being all charitable that evening.

My turned my focus to the manager and what he was saying.

He informed us that due to the food delays, he'd be offering us any dessert for free.

That seemed to be a good middle ground solution, I thought. Doesn't endanger our donation, and also "makes up for" the delay we'd experienced earlier. While it had been a little annoying, it wasn't as if I was Low and faced those hypo-related dangers.

We ate, and capped the meal with what they called a "White Chocolate Molten Lava Cake." This is a vanilla spongecake with holt melted white chocolate (lava) inside the cake, scoop of ice cream on top to seal it inside, and a white chocolate sauce topping for decoration and yummy goodness. A SWAG gave me a bolus guess of 6 (as I ate half and assumed this might cover it), though I later learned this was somewhat off - online nutrition info showed full cake was 152g, meaning I'd need about 15 units to cover the full dessert. Half would be 7.5, according to my Insulin To Carb Ratio. Close, but not exact.

After everything and not counting the $6 dessert, our bill came out to about $23. We balanced the tip based on the full amount and lack of prompt service overall, and made our way out with the receipt. In the end, we ended up donating about $2 to the JDRF. We presented the coupon to the waitress, and I mentioned the whole Dining for Diabetes to the manager to get a sense of the participation level in the past week. He was clueless and didn't know, pointing out that "a few" had been dining for the cause but nothing much that he's observed.

I may check with our JDRF Indiana to see what they know, and could even check with the regional folk at Chili's to get their response about participation. I'd like to know how it all turned out.

My verdict: While it was a good meal and the dessert was great, the overall experience and the ensuing "glucoastering" BGs thanks to the burger and chocolatey dessert just didn't make it worthwhile. Not for a donation of roughly $2. Next time, I'll just write a $20 check to the charity and prepare my own, easier-calculated meal at home where I can eat at my own pace and not face delays or surprises.

Then, it'll not only be healthier, grocery-store bought food from my own fridge and pantry while making a more significant D-Donation.


Lora said…
I often feel the same way about eating out for a cause. But in the end... if nothing else... you showed support and sometimes that means just as much.

BTW~ I love "White Chocolate Molten Lava Cake." YUM!:)
Colleen said…
I think this was probably somebody fundraising for their own walk team. The chapters themselves aren't really allowed to participate in things like this, but you can set things up to raise money for your team. At least that's how it worked when I worked for a chapter in PA.

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