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> TO GIVE RECIPES AWAY OR NOT TO: THAT IS THE QUESTION

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> TO GIVE RECIPES AWAY OR NOT TO: THAT IS THE QUESTION

TO GIVE RECIPES AWAY OR NOT TO: THAT IS THE QUESTION

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One of the most popular episodes of Seinfeld is with the soup Nazi. If you haven’t seen it, the gist is that a man opens up a soup shop that has the best tasting soup EVER. People line up around the block to get their soup- but there’s just one problem: the owner is a complete jerk. In fact, he’s more than a jerk; he’s a soup Nazi. If you want his soup (which everyone does), you do EVERYTHING the way he wants – walking into the restaurant, ordering, paying, and leaving – and if you make a mistake, your soup is taken away and you are banned from the shop for whatever period of time he demands.

His downfall comes when Elaine gets banned and she wants revenge. Luckily for her, she happens to find the owner’s recipes, and lets the soup Nazi know that she will expose the recipes to everyone. As a result, the shop is closed and the soup Nazi moves away.

What does this have to do with you? Well, it brings up an interesting question that has implications for your business and that you will need to answer for yourself: Should you keep your recipes secret or try to protect them so that only you have access to them?

A Difference of Opinion, Even for Major Corporations

This question is one that food professionals have tried to answer for many years. On the one hand there is KFC, who keeps their “11 herbs and spices” recipes so secret that you might think every other word in the recipe contained the nuclear codes that the president of the United States has next to him at all times. On the other hand, there is Olive Garden, which gives out many of its recipes free on the Internet. Which hand do you want to be on?

Sshhhhhh! It’s a Secret!

Most food vendors tend to keep their recipes a secret, and that is probably the best option in most cases. After all, if your recipes are available for anyone, what’s to stop your customers from just making your food at their home and leaving your store or restaurant nearly empty? (There’s always people who would rather go to the restaurant or who simply can’t cook.)

If you want to keep your recipes a secret, it might be a good idea to talk to a patent or copyright attorney. They can help you protect your trade secrets and ensure that your recipes stay in the right hands – yours.

Recipes! Get Your Recipes Here!

If, however, you really do want to give out your recipes to your customers – for whatever reason – you might want to consider some of these options:

  1. Sell a recipe book: If you’re going to give out your recipes, you might as well get some revenue out of it. Just make sure the price you charge is enough to cover not just the costs of printing the book, but also at least some of the lost revenue you might lose with the customer possibly not coming to your establishment anymore.
  2. Come up with new recipes and give away the old ones: One way to give recipes away without losing customers is to constantly come up with new recipes and dishes. This cycle can repeat itself as long as you have recipe ideas (or you run out of room on your menu).
  3. Have another reason for people to come besides just the food: You could have unique entertainment or other items for sale that people can only see or purchase at your place. This gives people a good opportunity to keep coming in (and still eat), even though you have given the recipes away.

There is also the option to, like Olive Garden, just post the recipes on your website and hope that people will still come to your establishment.

You know your business best, so only you can fully answer the “give recipes away or keep them a secret” question. We here at FLIP wish you the best of luck no matter which option you choose. 

BY AUSTIN DYKSTRA

Austin Dykstra writes about marketing, business, and insurance for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Austin Dykstra has written about everything from Instagram marketing to online reputation management. He is now firmly entrenched in the thrilling world of insurance. You can find Austin on LinkedInInstagram, or Twitter, where he’s meekly re-entering the fray after quitting during the 2016 election cycle.

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