Local Businesses Get Big ROI From Free Food & Drinks

Popcorn Fair

I was watching a video on YouTube the other week and the two folks in the video stopped at their local hardware store.

It was a father and son. The father is probably around 70 years old. The song is probably around 35 years old.

It was a relatively small town in Indiana. The Heartland of the USA. My kind of people. Hard working. Loving life.

Anyway, they walk into the hardware store to get a few things for a project they’re working on and the first thing the father mentions is the free fresh popcorn that’s available to customers. He sees the machine at the front when they walk in, but his son convinces him to wait until they checkout.

After they check out they each grab a small bag with about two scoops of popcorn. They have large smiles on their faces as they walk back to their car.

As the viewer, you almost forget what they actually went to the store to buy. It seems like the entire focus of the trip was to get the popcorn.

This happens all the time in business. It’s a super simple thing. The reason it works seems to be that people love free stuff. Especially free food.

I remember at my last job when the holidays would come around and vendors would send food gift baskets. People would get super protective in the break room making sure they got their fair share.

I know a small business owner who for 30 years has been offering his employees the choice of a Christmas bonus or a Christmas party. Every year they choose the party with free food and drinks.

In Wisconsin where I live there used to be an airline called Midwest Express. For years they had free freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on all flights. People loved it.

If you’re a business, especially a local business, looking to build more awareness and to get more people through your door then consider giving away free food regularly.

It’s super cheap. People love it. People talk about it. You can build a strong reputation on it.

Oh, I forgot one more. I worked at a furniture store in college and they had a little snack kitchen area with delicious cookies and and a soda fountain. All free for customers. It was often the first place people went when they got in the store. They they would walk around eating their cookies and browsing for furniture.

It’s an easy way to increase sales. Maybe not directly. But try it out for three months. Track overall sales before and after you implement the free food and drink strategy.

Dayne Shuda
Dayne Shuda
Dad, husband, golfer, and bow hunter. Owner of Ghost Blog Writers.