Have Fun Make Money — Great Harvest Bread Company

“Welcome to Great Harvest Bread Company! Would you like to try a free sample?”

If you’ve been to one of their franchises, you’ve heard the welcome. When my cousin Rich was younger, he’d go into the Chapel Hill NC store and ask for a big slice of bread, which he’d top with about two tablespoons worth of butter and maybe some honey. He never bought anything. They never glared. And they’re still happy to give away free loaves (however many you need) for any charitable event you need them for.

Many franchises display a placard with their operating philosophy, which goes like this:

What’s the gimmick?
Why the big free slices?

If this is the first time in our bakery, you may wonder why everybody gets a slice of bread for free. Most people assume these are “samples” so they can “try before they buy”… except they’ve never seen samples this big.

Our breadboard is not a “sample” board. It’s a place where anybody can get a hunk of fresh bread whenever they want, even if they never buy a thing.

Some people think a business is just to make money, so naturally our breadboard is confusing. But we are a business for two reasons: to make money and to have fun. Either one alone wouldn’t be enough. The day it stops making money, or it stops being fun, we quit.

The breadboard is our fun. The cash register is our money. So you see, when you’re at our breadboard, you’re keeping this whole thing going, just as much as the people at the cash register. People are happiest when they make other people happy. As bakers, we’re happiest when we see people eating our bread, right when it comes out of the oven.

Some people worry that we don’t know what we’re doing. Trust us–we won’t go broke. In fact, every time some guy runs in, grabs a big slice, and runs out smacking his lips, we seem to get more customers. The cash register takes care of the breadboard–but the breadboard also takes care of the cash register, and everything is going great for us, all around.

We do ask one little favor. Please take a slice even if you’re not hungry. Save it for later, or feed it to a hungry seagull–you won’t hurt our feelings a bit (actually some of our biggest fans are gulls!)

So just relax about the free bread. We’re relaxed. Waltz right up to the breadboard, tell us what you want, and help yourself to the butter!

Thank you to Brian at Katzung.net for posting the full text.