Raise the roof: A short analysis of the “On the house” concept

Leaving NYC today, I needed a quick, unhealthy deep fried snack (we all have days like this) and opted to swing by the empanada cart near my bus stop on 34th and 8th. I order one cheese empanada. The girl smiles at me and tosses not one but two into the bag and says, “I threw one on the house in there for ya!” I was instantly happy, of course, though when my jeans are tight tomorrow morning, I may feel differently! But, this got me thinking about the “on the house” concept. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or expensive but rather it’s the idea of giving the customer the feeling of being special and exclusive. It gives the business a friendly vibe and the person will aways positively remember your company as the cool place that gave you a little something extra for free.

While free stuff can’t always be given away, (we are running a business after all) it is always great to surprise and WOW the customer with a little something extra when they come knocking at your door.

Do you agree with me? I would love to hear your feedback on this! Have you had an experience lately where you received something “on the house”?

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  • Great post Jenny. This goes along with the Zappos concept of free overnight shipping upgrades. What are some free “On the house” upgrades we could do in our line of business? We can take that discussion off line 🙂

  • haha ok, offline it will be! But it does go right with the Zappos concept. There are so many little things that make a big impact.

  • Jenny,

    I once went on a negotiating skills course. One of the key points they made was think about what is easy for you to give away, but valuable to the person receiving it.

    Maybe the best example is pretzels on a bar. An industrial sized bag of pretzels hardly costs a fortune, but makes all the difference to a customer, hell, they might even buy another drink to wash them down.

    On the house doesn’t need to cost a lot of money

    Enjoyed the post


  • James,

    Exactly—it’s the tiny things that make the biggest impact! I like your example of pretzels at the bar—I know that this is definitely true for me 🙂

  • I’m at Panera Bread tonight doing some work and I just ordered a Chai Latte with Soy. The girl at the counter rang it up and $4.50 and when I handed her a $5 bill to pay she said “Oh wait, the system is charging you extra for soy but I’m not gonna charge you that.

    Speaking of On the House, this was a nice touch. As a customer I appreciated this!

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