Gourmet Treats: Best Tradeshow Giveaways 2017!

Nothing draws the attention of tradeshow attendees more than the lure of food. Tradeshows can be a marathon event with energy expended walking the show floor and attending a multitude of events. The offer of a small, delicious treat will pull them in and revitalize their energy reserves. Once they’re in your booth, you will enjoy conversing with prospects about what you offer in products and services. You won’t have potential customers passing you by without as much as a glance when you offer them high quality, gourmet food items. And make sure to offer them one to go–having your logo imprinted on the food packaging leaves a lasting impression. When they indulge in the goodie later your company is brought to their mind again.

Smiley face made of chocolate syrup is isolated on a white background

Not to Brag… [INFOGRAPH]

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…but sometimes it’s justified!

Not to brag… but sometimes it’s justified.  Reflecting back on 2016, it occurred to us that we have a lot to celebrate here at Maple Ridge Farms!  So to share our excitement, we put together a short list of fun facts and accomplishments that help establish Maple Ridge Farms as one of the best in the promotional products industry.  Take a look at the info graph below.  Hint: Hover over various topics to explore more details and fun videos!

 

Self Promotion in the First Quarter: Make Food Work for You

The holidays are here and gone, and with them most clients’ thoughts of food gifts.  It doesn’t need to be that way, though!  Food gifts can have year-round applications, and featuring them in a first-quarter self promotion campaign is a great way to remind your clients of their versatility.

For the Love of Chocolate

Maple Ridge Farms understands our nation’s intense love affair with chocolate. If we ever stop appreciating this, our yearly

“All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt” – Charles Shultz

“All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt” – Charles Shultz

sales statistics quickly bring it back into focus. Our chocolate items are consistently among our top sellers. We decided to do a little searching to determine just what makes it such a hit!

Love of chocolate is nothing new. Known use of chocolate dates back to 1900 BC in Mesoamerica. Chocolate was introduced first in Spain, and then other European countries around 1600, and made its way to the United States around 1755. Once a culture embraced chocolate, its popularity invariably spread.

So what is really behind the lure of chocolate? A guilty pleasure, a moment of bliss in a sweet? When we’re sad and stressed, what do we do? Many of us resort to chocolate. Is there some scientific truth to the mood boosting ability of chocolate?

Put the Power of Food to Work for Your Organization

Food is a powerful tool. It gives us energy, powers our performance, and brings us together. People across the country and around the world are gathering around tables this holiday season to celebrate and put differences aside. Here’s how to continue to put the power of food to work for your organization the whole year through.

Get Fit

Do you want to encourage your organization to be healthier? Host a kickoff event to announce your new health and wellness program. Hand out healthier alternatives that still taste great, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, granola and nuts. Share easy-to-make, delicious recipes that incorporate nutritious options, and invite employees to make their favorite healthy dish at a potluck event. Reward progress and encourage participants to continue making good decisions by bringing healthy, delicious snacks into the office. Remember, investing in a healthier organization is a long-term commitment which contributes directly to your bottom line.
Resolve Differences

A successful organization resolves differences that come up during business. Perhaps you have two salespeople who don’t see eye-to-eye or departments that aren’t working well together. Bring them together during a meal and work to resolve any outstanding conflicts. When people eat together, it helps break down barriers and grudges, so you can work together towards a solution.
Celebrate and Improve

A team that achieves together should celebrate together. Reward team members who achieve key milestones and perform at a high level with celebratory meals. Talk about how you achieved these goals, and share best practices to encourage future performance. Remember to highlight every member’s contributions, including people in behind-the-scenes roles.

On the contrary, you won’t always achieve specific goals and meet expectations. When that happens, bring everyone together and discuss what happened. Ask team members to share what worked and what didn’t and offer suggestions for improvement. Don’t point fingers and place blame; work together to improve moving forward. Hosting this discussion around a table of delicious food or snacks should help ideas flow.
Recognize Teams and Individuals

Food is an excellent way to recognize everyone who contributed to an achievement. Meals and food gifts are perfect for groups to share and encourage people who work together to get to know each other better. Getting to know fellow team members and co-workers usually leads to improved performance. There’s just something about bringing a group together to work toward a common goal that’s powerful.

At the same time, it’s important to recognize individual contributions as well. In any group, there are leaders who move to the forefront, members who execute and implement your plans and out-of-sight worker bees who power the operation. Encourage all members to contribute by recognizing individuals as well as groups. Individual recognition helps reduce members who ‘ride on the coattails’ of their peers. Reward individual members by inviting them to lunch with their direct supervisor or team leader, so they can share their thoughts and feedback on team performance. This is especially powerful when you’re recognizing employees who perform in the background and may feel as if their voice isn’t being heard.
Host Company-Wide or Group Discussions

Do you need to discuss a topic as a company or group? Bring everyone together with food. There’s a reason why so many families discuss important events around the table; it’s a great place to host a group discussion. Hold a company-wide potluck or ask departments to meet over lunch to discuss proposed policy changes, suggest ideas to improve the culture or contribute to important company decisions. Your employees will feel like valued members of your organization and will appreciate that they’re being asked to contribute to important company decisions.

 

Enjoy the magic and wonder of the holiday season as you gather around tables and break bread with colleagues, family members and friends. Don’t forget about the power of food once the calendar turns to a New Year though. Continue to utilize food to motivate, incentivize and bring your organization together the whole year through.

 

5 Ways to Help Secure Those Last Minute Holiday Orders

It is the hectic holiday season and you want to make the most of the opportunity – fourth quarter holiday food gift business can significantly boost your bottom line. Historically, 20% of holiday food gift orders are placed in December, so there is still a lot of business out there. But what about that procrastinating customer that comes to you at the last minute? This is where we try to be the solution to last minute customer madness!

Historically, 20% of holiday food gift orders are placed in December.

Historically, 20% of holiday food gift orders are placed in December.

1. Does your customer have these details ready?  Having answers to these questions will save time during the ordering process:

  • What packaging and food choice does your client want?
  • How many items does your client need?
  • What type of imprint or decoration does your client want on the items?
  • Is the artwork approved?
  • Do you want cards included in the order, and if so do you have the cards or the message ready?
  • What are the ship-to addresses?
  • Is the client willing to pay rush shipping fees if necessary?
  • When is your absolute latest in-hands date?
Our website tools can make it easier for you to quickly find the perfect gift for your customer

Our website tools can make it easier for you to quickly find the perfect gift for your customer

2. Our website tools can make it easier for you to quickly find the perfect gift for your customer. We’ve included some time saver tools, such as search by price – just type in your client’s price range, you’ll see all the gifts in that price category.

3. Absolutely need an imprinted gift shipped in 2 days? Check out our 2 day gift section. We have over 40 gifts that can be imprinted and out our door in 2 days from receipt of complete order.

4. Our sales consultants are happy to discuss the various shipping options available to you. They can provide you with estimated transit times and give you a freight quote on the various shipping methods. Speaking of shipping, let us do the work for you and save you a few precious holiday crunch days. Rather than you or your client, reshipping the gifts we can ship the gifts to the final recipient, and even enclose gift cards. Just provide us with the shipping list and details of the gift cards.

5. Need a gift out even quicker? This might be the time to show your customer our gift certificate program! We are currently offering free overnight shipping on our Gourmet Gift Certificates. Each recipient can choose from the following:  Spiral Sliced Boneless Ham, Tower of Sweets, or Smoked Turkey Breast.

9 Tips to Help You Enjoy a Healthy Fourth Quarter

healthy_signThe fourth quarter can be a challenge on many levels; working on client holiday programs can be hectic, even more so when you’re also juggling your own holiday plans.  Staying healthy is an important part of a successful season, and we’ve got 9 tips to help you out!

5 Ways to Combat Freight Charge Concerns

boxes_on_beltThe freight landscape is ever-changing, and staying on top of the policies and rates of couriers can be a challenge, whether you’re shipping hard goods, soft goods, or food gifts.  Freight charges are probably not the first thing that your client is thinking about when they’re selecting their gifts, but they can have a significant impact on budgets!  A bit of elbow grease and creativity can help to ensure that freight charges don’t become a dealbreaker.

Officegiving: A Fun Holiday Party Served with Gratitude

This year, throw a holiday party that your staff will be thankful for – Officegiving.

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It’s a fun, low-key affair that is focused on the heart of your business – your people. Bring them together around a table of delicious food to celebrate their achievements, show your gratitude and encourage them to get to know each other better.

We have a few suggestions to make your Officegiving shine.

Food

The host supplies the turkey or main course and the gravy. (Not a cook? We can help, and no one will ever have to know. 😉) Ask your employees to contribute a side dish, dessert or beverage of their choice. It helps to suggest categories to ensure that you have a variety of dishes: potatoes, vegetables, special dietary needs (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or sugar-free, if needed), hors d’oeuvres, stuffing and so on. Don’t forget to have plenty of ice on hand.

 

Set Up

Impress your guests with a beautifully set table to create the tone for your event. (Presentation matters in business, right?) A tablecloth (or runner & placements), cloth napkins, china dinnerware, stemware, place cards, flowers/centerpieces and candles will make your staff feel special and appreciated. You can either assign seats to encourage mingling or allow your guests to take their place cards to the seats of their choice. Remember any serving platters, bowls or utensils that you will need and have plenty of water. Whether you have it on the table or in a designated beverage area, good food and constant talking will make your employees thirsty! Pleasant background music creates a comfortable atmosphere.

 

Schedule
/ Activities

As a show of gratitude, hold your Officegiving on a week day if possible. You can work a half day and then close the office for your celebration. Can’t lose your entire staff for that long? Block out two hours mid-day where everyone can get together. Invite your employees to dress casual for the day; it will be a nice treat if you typically have a more formal dress code.

While there’s no need to plan additional activities, they can add some fun and serve as icebreakers to get employees chatting.

  • Photo Booth: Create some fun, seasonal props and designate an area where guests can take selfies. Want to go all out? Roll out the red carpet (or leaf-lined trail) and rent a photo booth complete with props and photographer.
  • Awards Ceremony: Tastiest side dish? Best photo booth appearance? Most likely to eat turkey throughout the year? Everyone likes to win awards, even nonsense ones, so get creative with your categories and award names. Need inspiration? Check out The Dundies.
  • Get Physical: Depending on where you’re located, you can head outside to plan a friendly game of football or hold a competition indoors. Pin the feathers on the turkey (blindfolded, of course), an egg spoon race or obstacle course relay race will help burn calories and encourage teamwork.
  • Employee Trivia: This is a great way to help employees get to know each other better. Have everyone complete short questionnaires leading up to the event with questions such as, “Where did you grow up?”, “What was your first job?, “What’s your favorite hobby?” and so on. It will be fun to see who knows their co-workers the best.
  • Cook-Off: Encourage employees to bring in family recipes or branch out and try new foods. Allow everyone to vote for their favorite side dish and dessert or create your own categories.
  • Spend Time Together: Looking for more low-key indoor activities? Play a board game, watch a movie, work on a puzzle or color. Bring employees into the planning process by asking them to vote for their preferred activity and go with the top two or three choices, depending on space.

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Show Your Gratitude

Officegiving centers around people and gratitude, so make sure to include the latter. Have each guest say one thing he or she is thankful for to kick off the meal or write them down to display in a common area in the office. It’s also a nice touch to give each employee a hand-written note from management thanking them for your hard work and contributions to the company during the year. The more personalized the notes, the better. If you’d like to go a step further, include a physical token of your gratitude, such as fresh baked cookies and brownies or a gift they can use in the office every day. While physical gifts aren’t necessary, they add an extra dose of appreciation.
Reduce your stress this holiday season and put the focus back where it should be – on people and gratitude. By holding Officegiving earlier in the holiday season, you’ll free up your employees to enjoy the special events and magic this time of year. So set a table, gather round and enjoy each other’s company. Cheers to a wonderful Officegiving!

6 Reasons to Choose Maple Ridge Farms for Your Holiday Food Gift Needs

Let’s face it: when it comes to options for holiday food gifts, there is a plethora out there for your customer to choose from.  Not only is there a number of options within the promotional products industry, there are also countless direct sellers, big-box stores, and small local companies—it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices.  So why should you and your customer choose Maple Ridge Farms?

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