November 27, 2012
One reader contacted me the other day with a conundrum and wanted to know if I’d ever run into similar issues. Truthfully, I hadn’t, so I’m throwing it out to all of you to see if this is becoming more and more common these days?
This reader told me that she’s been getting an increased number of requests from other small businesses to basically come and feed people at their business holiday open houses. The catch is that these small businesses are asking her to do it for free with the idea being that the exposure will be beneficial for her.
I’ve never actually run into this issue myself and while I always want to help other small businesses, my knee-jerk reaction would be to tell the other businesses that as a small business myself I can’t afford to do. I might, depending on the company and their clientele, be willing to ante up for their open house but would request that they cover my basic food costs for the event.
Of course there is one other thing to consider. By doing these open houses for free or near-free you are also essentially taking money away from small caterers for whom the holiday season can be one of their biggest money makers. So you may be helping one small business but hurting another.
What do you think? Do you get a lot of businesses asking you to provide food for their holiday open houses? How do or how would you handle these requests?