A Dilemma.

Yesterday afternoon, I received an email from a rather large corporation (and because it isn’t really ripe for discussion just yet, I’ll withhold the name and let’s just all call it Super Big Company).  The email asked us to respond to the possibility of providing dessert for 2500 guests at annual party hosted by Super Big Company.  TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED.



You knew there had to be a catch, right?

The catch is that the budget per person for dessert is .55-.65 cents, including all the materials needed to serve, such as napkins and forks.


So, before you whip out your calculator, on the high end of .65 cents times 2,500…the total payout is around $1,625.  I’m sure half of you will stop reading right now.

Since we are basically quizzing everyone we know about this, here is what we are thinking:

The Pros

  1. Huge honor to be asked to respond to the proposal for Super Big Company.
  2. Opportunity to expose over 2,000 people to PJP and WorldPieDomination, building brand recognition and (hopefully) a legion of new fans.
  3. It would be a huge challenge and Jeanne and I like nothing more than wondering if we can pull something off.

The Cons

  1. At .65 cents a serving, we wouldn’t make a single cent of profit…in fact, we might lose a little.
  2. Using our current space to make 2,500 of anything will basically cripple normal PJP Buttonwood operations and walk-in customers probably would have few options on the day before and the day of the event.
  3. We might kill each other because the stress of performing well means one or both of us will cry and probably be shouty with the other one.

So, you can see our dilemma…solid arguments for both sides.  And probably an excellent example of what any entrepreneur deals with as a business grows.  I feel like this should be a problem in a textbook somewhere…much like, “If a big company asks PJP to make 2,500 servings of pie and is willing to pay .65 cents per serving, what is the break-even analysis?  Show your work.”  Or maybe even “If Jeanne gets on a  train in Los Angeles with 1,250 tarts and Rebecca gets on a train in New York with 1,250 tarts, who will get to Super Big Company party first?”.  But I digress.

We will need to submit an answer by this time next week, so comments welcome.

7 thoughts on “A Dilemma.

  1. karen gay howard

    i say – don’t give yourself away. you are a super great company and worth more than 65 cents a serving. if they are really that super big – they should be able to come up with more than that. make them a counter offer and stick to it. thats my depinion! WPD will come w or w/o their help….life is short.

  2. Anonymous

    I think it’s really tacky for said company to offer only 65 cents. For a company of that size I’m sure they could increase the budget for desserts if they really want your product that is worth so much more than that. I think you have to stand up to bullies… 🙂

  3. Jerod Bast

    Don’t do it. Tell them thanks but no thanks. Hold your margins and counter. It is a great opportunity but you what will it really cost you? You will hurt the rest of your ability to do your normal business because you will not be able to do the great job that is building your brand and you will have devalued your product.

    Hellz no….

  4. Samantha

    Arrange a face to face, tell them your awesome dessert plan and give them samples. While their mouths are full of delicious pie tell them you need .75 or $1.00 per serving. Still an excellent deal for Super Big Company. It sounds like they might be low balling you, honestly.

  5. Linda Carlyle

    I would calculate what it would cost to fill this order, plus make a profit for the store. Then respond by telling Super Big Company what it will cost and it’s not going to be the piddly amount they offered. They’ll either accept or not. Sure, it would be nice to say “PJP served dessert for Super Big Company huge function.” But knowing your size limitations would that be worth the pain you would all go through to do this? If it is, then they should at least pay what it costs plus let you have some profit. This is just my opinion based on experiences I’ve had in dealing with Super Big Companies.

  6. Anonymous

    I would give them a counter offer to keep from losing money. Who else would pull this off. Do you really think this could lead to World Pie Domination? Will they respect you in the morning or be promoting their self for staying below budget. If its a big, huge corporation they can afford to pay you and not wipe their feet on you. Stress, stress, stress

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