Make constructive, socially responsible business decisions this holiday.
I read this article last night, and was sad that people thought so poorly of food gifts :
5 Bad Gift Ideas You Need to Avoid This Holiday Season, by Tom Searcy
As a personal chef and owner of a food-centered small business, I think the idea that 'Food is THE worst high level business gift / solutions' is a little harsh. To see it at the top of their list broke my heart.
I think the article started in a good place, but missed some points.
While on one hand I agree - a fruit cake can get passed around more than once, that does not go to say that personalized food gifts are not appreciated well. What if you have a client that is gluten intolerant? Or has other food restrictions? A good box of gluten-free cookies or a personalized basket from a local bakery or chef is not such a bad idea then.
I believe that people at any level of business like to receive things from other LOCAL small businesses, over receiving the pre-wrapped gift baskets from a big-box retailer. Why not choose to invest in their community? It shows your commitment towards overall growth of the community, either yours or theirs or both!
Every executive has a personal shopper or a secretary or someone who does the grunt work of making the purchases. What makes your gift personal is your attention to detail. Towards the needs of your recipient!
Money has to be spent, why not spend it making constructive, socially responsible business decisions?
For my own clients and holiday gifts, I encourage providing complete pairings: such a basket of ingredients for an in-home dinner for their family with an appropriate cookbook, a gift certificate to private cooking lessons from a local chef, or have a local personal chef cook a private dinner for 8, in their home and at their convenience, a picnic basket for two or four, a networking / staff retreat over a catered lunch or dinner for THEIR staff, or even a simple emergency breakfast basket for those days when someone comes in at the crack of dawn to beat a deadline. All these are experiences, and is not a single item here or there.
People are very particular about the cooking / serving tools as well as the silverware and glassware they use. To say that the recipient does not own kitchen tools or may need better ones that what they own, may be seen as an insult, and counter productive to the gifters' intent. Providing a 'hard to find' tool that matches the experience may be a great idea. Unique bottle stoppers may even pass but really, glasses? I personally like receiving or giving sets of 12. So, a set of 4 glasses in my book makes a perfect candidate, for re-gifting.
Personalization of the experience is absolutely essential with food baskets but not the tools / materials included. Otherwise no matter how well it is done, or how much $ is spent, it gets re-gifted or worse, tossed.
Spend wisely. When it comes to food gifts, the key is to remember that sometimes people just need the time for a 'ready to enjoy' gift. Your gift of time and not the item itself, becomes THE most valuable gift of all. Considerate gestures that give the gift of time, will always be appreciated far more than a silly old kitchen tool, dishes or dish towels that don't match. It is important to give a gift that people WANT to use it, so they can have a memorable experience.
And memorable gifts are the best gifts.
Gifting personalized food experiences can prove to be extremely rewarding. Your clients will thank you many times over. It will forge an unshakable, strong business connection and it will be the best investment you've made for your own business and theirs.