I’m concerned with how the economy seems to be unraveling for the worse. As a family business, Nino’s has been around since 1958 (I haven’t been around that long). In the old days, I worked actively with nonprofits, faith-based events, and other charitable needs to develop wonderful dinners, lunches, fashion shows, wine tastings, you name it. We worked from the prospective of costing out staff, food, and beverage. Then whatever that base price was, with no market up, the nonprofit doubled so they would earn the other half of the ticket. So we met our food and beverage costs and we paid for our staffing their fair wage.
For example, I partnered with Joan & David for a fashion show and chocolate/champagne food tasting. I was able to get some great pricing from my vendors and the ladies of Cameo were my models. It was an incredible event where my costs were only $16 per person, so they charged their guests $32. This is one of the many examples of privates working with nonprofits. We didn’t make a profit, but we covered our costs and our staff was paid.
Now, for some unexplained reason, everyone wants us to donate EVERYTHING for FREE! This includes staffing and tips, but if we aren’t getting paid we don’t have out of pocket money.
I suppose they expect me to write Edison Electric Company and explain, “I’m giving away my food and services for free so I can’t pay the electric bill this week.” I guess my food servers are expected to work for free and explain to their families they can’t have groceries because we needed to donate food and services again at Nino’s.
Does this make sense? Why are nonprofits not realizing this is unfair and it is detrimental to the well being of our people in Long Beach? Our small business owners are being strangled and many minimum wage or wage for tip employees out of resources.
At Nino’s, we love chipping in and offering food and service at least for costs. This is truly a way to help us continue being in business, but to expect it for free and to donate everything from service to food, is simply wrong. I often wonder how others would feel if we expected them to work for free. Would they like having to compromise their family’s well being, over and over again?
We receive up to 20 requests per week. During the holidays or election times, you can quadruple that number. I am tired of hearing from people, “but it will be good advertising.” I want to reply, “Being able to pay for my employees and pay our bills is more important advertising.”
Recently I’ve even heard people of nonprofit and faith-based sectors ask for free services out right.
Can you teach my children for free? Can you provide train the trainer sessions for free? Can you give me accounting services for free? Can you come over and help me paint my church and do some electric work on the side?
In my opinion, these freebies are wiping out the middle class of America. That is what I was most proud of as an American, that we had a solid middle class. Most countries I traveled to when I was younger, had either dominate poor or rich class. The middle seemed to be always struggling. Yet, when I was little I even understood the value of the United States because of its strong culture for middle class families. Entrepreneurs were birthed from poor sectors to achieve middle class stability and sometimes wealthy standards too! Have you noticed how hard it is in Long Beach for entrepreneurs to be successful and grow to sustainability?
By asking for everything FREE, you are compromising our livelihood and ability to achieve the American Dream in 2013. Paying a fair wage means to STOP asking for things of others for free.