Yesterday while I was out on a delivery I got a call from one of my staff saying there was a guy there who needs a recipe. I was only 3 minutes away from the store so I ask to have him wait.
When I got back to the store I found the guy was the franchisee of a place about 2 miles away. He wanted a recipe for sauce because he is not happy with the way he is being treated by the franchise and wants to go it on his own.
I have traded supplies with this guy in the past but I will never give anyone my recipe. I figured I had three options first I could tell him to hit the road or second I could direct him to the recipe bank or third let him figure it out on his own.
Sooooo, before I tell you what I did, what would you have done.
Can you imagine…I mean really,going down the road 2 miles to your competition and asking for a recipe. Wow.
I would have said uhhhhhh hmmmmm uhhhhhh N O !!!
And then I would have YELLED back to the kitchen while standing in the middle of the dining room “HEY JOHNNY, COME HERE MR. yyy IS HERE FROM PIZZA yyy HE WANTS TO BUY OUR SAUCE RECIPE…COME OUT I WANT YOU TO MEET HIM!”
The only other stupid thing this guy could have done is wore HIS shirt in your place.
I would have given him a list of possible ingredients that he could mix in with the sauce, based on what I’ve read here. I would be up front that I would not share my receipe, but give him all the info he needed to create his own. I would also suggest that his food purveyor probably sold a generic spice blend meant to be mixed in with sauce.
It’s really not our sauce recipe that defines our succesess or failure in this business, There’s so much more to it. Being part of a small franchise, I can tell you that different locations, using the same ingredients, often put out a very different tasting final product. There’s so many variables that I wouldn’t worry at all about someone down the street from me having a decent sauce recipe.
Man alive! I agree it took brass meatballs, but I don’t think I’d throw him under the bus.
I’m with the daddio on this one, I believe. Introduce him to the the recipe bank. Sure, he’ll do a search and end up with my recipe I posted here a couple months ago. Alrighty. I agree with paul7979 that odds of duplicating my sauce are pretty low, all things considered. I would not hand it out to a competitor down the road from me, but I’d steer him to my food rep and offer a couple pointers like finding PMQ recipe bank.
Just think what the town will think when word gets out you gave a helping hand to a guy trying to go independent.
(edit add-on) And if he goes all schmucky on you . . . you can advertise that he is using your sauce since he liked it so well.
Well here is what I did.
I thanked him for the flattery of wanting to copy what I had personally developed. I told him that I would not give, sell or otherwise allow my recipe to be used by him or anyone else. I the suggested that he look online for recipes that he could use as a starting point. I also said it would be good to check the different tomato product manufacturers’ web sites.
I then gave him a slice of my pizza and a can of pop and discussed the challanges he would be facing trying to get out of his franchise contract.
He thanked me for the lunch and the advise and went on his way.
Did I do the right thing?
I would tell him to go to the PMQ web site at www.pmq.com and click on the RECIPE BANK option where he can find a number of good sauce formulas/recipes to look at and evaluate for use in his store. If he asked for my recipe, I would simply tel lhim that it is a proprietary formula/recipe, I hope you will understand, and again direct him to the RECIPE BANK.
I think this would be the fair and right thing to do. To tell him to take a long walk off of a short pier would be to burn your bridges, that you might want to cross again at some future time, possibly like getting together with him (as an independant operator) and combining your flour orders to maybe secure a better price.
That’s what I would do.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
I think so, it sounds like you were honest with him, and you did try to help him. Additionally, it also sounds as if you might have set the stage for a “new” friend. By this I mean, that time you spent visiting with him will be remembered, and who knows, maybe one day he will be able to repay you with a favor when your back is up against the wall.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor