Yesterday I received the following email:
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am contacting you on behalf of a client with regards to a recipe that they are interested in featuring as a menu item. I'm hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction as to whom I might speak to regarding this matter.
The recipe is XXXXXXXXXXXX, an award-winning recipe created by Haddock in the XXXXXXXX Festival
My client would like permission to:
- use the Festival / Contest name in menus, on its website, possibly on television, and in other promotional materials;
- commercialize the recipe, offering it as a menu item on its menu
- make tweaks to the recipe, for example, to adapt them for commercialization in a 500-unit casual dining restaurant chain
- reproduce the text of the recipe in promotional materials
In exchange for the permissions set out above, the client can offer to provide free publicity for the Festival / Contest Organizer and Creator of the recipe.
I hope you will contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss this matter further. I appreciate your time and consideration.
I think I have all the free publicity I might need if a 500 unit casual dining chain wants to feature my recipe. 500 units is a lot. That’s TGI Friday’s and Chipotle sized. Chili’s is something like 650 units. That’s a lot of restaurants. And they’re offering free publicity?
I don’t think so.
The email was from a company specializing in IP acquisition. I sent an email and got an out of office due to illness reply. We’ll see what today brings.
As a young musician I worried about selling out. You know, wanting to be a rock star, but with creative control, not dishing out the corporate rock. As a chef I want my food to have integrity, a sense of place and purpose. As an owner, I want to pay the bills. As a father I want financial security for my family.
The old joke goes- Man turns to the elegant society lady at a dinner party and says, “Would you go to bed with me for $100,000?” She says after a pause, “Yes, I would.” He asks, “Will you go to bed with me for $100?” She blanches and says, “What sort of person do you think I am?” To which he replies, “We’ve established what sort of person you are. Now we’re just negotiating price.” So the question is; what sort of person am I and what’s my price?
There is no way this recipe can be produced on a mass scale and still be good. By its very nature it’s a small batch production. The “tweaks” they would need to do to make it suitable for a 500 unit chain would destroy what makes it special. This isn’t me being protective of my creation, it’s just the truth. Some things scale up for mass production, and some things don’t. This doesn’t. So once I let someone else use the name, the recipe, what have you they will destroy the value it has to my restaurant.
The GM accuses me of being an idealist. I am. I also wouldn’t mind having my bills paid.
Anyone know a good IP lawyer?