Dear Café, Don’t Say Yes, Then Say No. Because of Money

Dear Café, Don’t Say Yes, Then Say No. Because of Money

There are things that some new cafes in Singapore do, which makes me very exasperated… Do you even know what you are doing? Have you considered about your business in a long run? Where are your business ethics? What is your level of professionalism?

Sorry that I have to get this off my chest.

The background story: There is a Food & Socialikes Conference meant for food bloggers and food instagrammers taking place in May. Entirely non-profit, meant for people in this industry to share about food-related topics.

Subjects include technology and food, trend in food and social media, smartphone food photography, principles of life and blogging, and impact of social media on restaurants (Ironic. The cafe involved should attend this panel discussion.)

The Food Conference has gathered quite some names, including founders, restaurateurs and authors of food blogs from HungryGoWhere, Burpple, I Eat I Shoot I Post, Wild Rocket, Saveur, Mis Tam Chiak, Johor Kaki, Camemberu, Seth Lui etc.

I didn’t publicise (yet) on my social media because the team had a very healthy sign-up rate and wanted to keep the conference small and manageable.

The thing is this… The café who is the venue sponsor pulled out AFTER publicity materials have gone out, BECAUSE another organization wanted to have an event on the same day, and they would be PAYING.

So the café chose paying over non-paying, monetary over non-monetary. That’s not the point right?

5 points I would like to raise.

Being an events venue, do not agree to something, then pull out last minute for inconsequential reasons. What does this do to your reputation?

A business must always respect its customers, especially after you have given the word.

Words get around
The industry is sooooo small. Words do get around.

Do not count everything in monetary value
This is one of the most myopic areas happening to many new businesses, that they focus on short term gain over long term benefits.

I can safely say the PR value of any one of the high profile speakers, say Dr Leslie Tay, would outweigh the rental cost by multiple times. And from what I understand, Dr Leslie is very selective of his projects that even if you have the money, he may not agree to take part.

The impact of social media
Time and time again, we are reminded of the impact of social media, and I always wonder why some businesses choose to turn a blind eye, or do things that stab themselves in the foot.

I who have visited more than 200 cafes in Singapore, have NEVER heard of the café until this conference, and would have been happy to give them some publicity too.

With that said, I don’t believe in slamming the events venue. Don’t go around searching and post things on their walls (even if it is really quite easy to find.)

I believe when the day comes, when they see how much exposure the new venue gets, it will be one of the biggest regret in their business life. Peace.

(I am writing this in capacity as a by-stander invited as a panelist.)

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  1. very very short-sighted indeed. the PR value is worth a lot a lot more. Now they will suffer backlash some more, none of bloggers will support this place after this lack of professionalism…

  2. William Tang : April 9, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Daniel,

    We are not actually a cafe but I can support the venue if the organizers are interested.
    We are not operating in the morning or lunch so no problem for us.
    Do let us know if we can be of help.
    Our place can hold about 60 comfortably and equipped with av system for functions.
    Thank you.

  3. Oh dear… I was excited about the event and contemplated attending since it’s the first of its kind… :( Hopefully, things will iron out soon.

  4. awww i so want to join FSC but then i found out ill be overseas on the 23rd :( I do hope the organisers would find another venue.. that was really unprofessional of the cafe :(

  5. Didn’t you sign any contract with them? Although it’s non-profit, it should still be treated as a business deal. After all, they have received some amount of publication and in return you got nothing?

  6. The organizers should have a contract with their sponsors. There is an exchange of benefits/ advertising for the free use of the venue.

    If there is no contract, then the so-call sponsor should be allowed to back out.

    For the blogging community or event organizer to even say there will be backlash speaks very poorly about the community as a whole. That means there is intent to publicly shame this cafe?

    I can’t even understand why there is a need to blog about this if there is no contract to begin with. The cafe has every right to back out. Just move on and find another venue. Be professional.

    My company has been a sponsor before and yes, we are expected to sign and honor our commitment as a sponsor.

  7. Mr Loh,

    The cafe has not been named in the post, so we can see it’s not an attempt to shame the cafe.

    Daniel Ang has every right to speak what he feels on his blog. He is not the organiser either. He has raised valid points, including a call to consider the non-monetary benefits and publicity.

    I don’t know if there was a written agreement or not. Many of us just run along with email agreements and a basic sense of honour, so perhaps that is erring on the trusting side.

    However, there is such a thing called verbal integrity too, even if there is no contract.

    It tells me a lot about the business owners of that cafe, the way they ditched their word and responsibility.

  8. Mr Loh,

    I’m sure there was some kind of agreement, and even if there is an email or text confirmation and acceptance, this is actually considered contract binding by business law (The Electronic Transactions Act Cap 88). However, if the event organizer chooses to pull out regardless, the question is is it worth the thousands of dollars and time needed to enforce the contract legally?

    Of course not, we all have better things to do and pursuing a legal angle just ends up a lose lose for everyone. By the time we get the law to enforce the contract, event over liao what’s the point. Thus contract is redundant, and what we are questioning here is the honor and integrity of said cafe to uphold the deal even though we all know no one is going to pursue legal options over this thing.

    By backlash, I speak mainly for myself although I made that sweeping statement. But I believe a place that has no basic integrity does not deserve my business. We are just voicing our honest thoughts as what bloggers do. All too often people get away with bad business practices because there are no repercussions. I believe there -should- be repercussions as it affects the time and efforts of the sponsors and their partners.

  9. As a biz owner for nearly 10 years, i strongly believe that reputation, trust, integrity & biz ethics is very important elements in a business and as a human being.

    When you made a promise, make sure you are able to deliver it. Especially during social media conference & after publicity went out. (don’t even need to mention whether the event is big or small) and If you can’t deliver, don’t promise. $ can’t never earn finish.

    hopefully the organiser can quickly find another sponsored venue.

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