A Tale of Two Thrifties

Picnic season. Can’t you smell the barbecue already? Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, baked beans, potato salad. A face painter or balloon twister for the kids, maybe an inflatable toy or two, and some fun summer music in the background. It’s a classic recipe for summer fun! Summer picnics are the best, if you ask me. I’m a huge fan. For corporate America, it’s an opportunity to get the employees out of the office and onto the grass, and mingle with their coworker’s families. It creates a sense of belonging to a family, and goes a long way to promote good morale. The picnic is important. Perhaps that’s why two of our clients got creative instead of scrapping the picnic altogether.
It wasn’t long ago that we went to the phones to contact our clients about their yearly summer event, and two of them, we’ll call them company A and Company B, were seriously considering cancelling the event that year. Their budgets were tight, and neither of them could afford the kind of picnics that they had years prior. When we looked at the contracts from the previous years, we found that these two companies had a lot in common. Similar group size, menu choices and entertainment choices were all about the same – and they liked to picnic at the same park. The light bulbs went on and we were on the phones getting these two companies together. Combining their picnic would go a long way in both of their budgets! They agreed, and this is how it worked for them: Both groups opted to have their own style of catering. Company A combined potluck sides with a hired bbq chef for the grilled items that they purchased at Costco. Company B gathered their volunteers, which included their CEO, to do much the same thing. It was arranged that their picnic sites were side by side, and the shared entertainment was set up between the two groups: Two inflatable toys, a face painter, and a DJ who came ready with games for each group to play at different times. All of the guests had a great time. It went so well that they did the same thing two years in a row!
You don’t have to share a picnic with another group to keep your picnic budget under control. A potluck picnic can be a wonderful way to bring employees together, and with a little creativity can be just as fun as the big budget picnics – it can also be more labor intensive, take more planning time and a lot more organization. The point is there are many ways to enjoy a company-wide summer get together without taking a huge chunk out of your morale budget. Let the sunshine inspire you and get creative!

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