Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Free Ice Cream

Roughly once a year at my office, the office building gives away free ice cream to the employees of tenants. Last year they had ice cream bars and some packaged dipped cones. Being a fan of ice cream, this was right up my alley. This year they raised the bar significantly, and offered us free Coldstone Creamery sundaes.

My co-worker and I were discussing just what it costs to have Coldstone send half-a-dozen employees out to a business and serve sundaes for two hours. The crowd was steady the entire time we were there, and while I don't know exactly how many people work in our office buildings, three thousand seemed like a safe guess.

The question then was just how much of a discount Coldstone is willing to give on the price of each sundae in exchange for guaranteed sales of a couple thousand. If the non-discounted price was $12,000 ($4 per sundae) we were figuring it was probably 10k or so, which would have worked out to a 25% discount and free labor/setup/etc.

That's a lot of money to spend on the employees of your tenants, especially considering they likely have little or no input into the real estate decisions their company is making (assuming the office space is at least remotely satisfactory).

On the other hand, that money was a drop in the bucket compared with what it cost the tenants in lost productivity to have 3,000 employees traipsing down to the lobby at 2pm and standing in line for 30 minutes waiting to get a sundae.

I liked it, though.

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