Serving free food serves another purpose

In the beginning of the year, and even now, posters and flyers are all over school advertising clubs. They encourage people to join, extolling their virtues and promoting their meetings. Some offer free food to those who attend the meetings. Others give out candy at club rush. The question is, does this method actually succeed in increasing membership?
Free food is a definite grabber for people to come to club meetings. People flock to those classrooms for these delicious snacks. When the year started, for example, CHS’s German Club advertised root beer floats and popsicles for its first and second meetings, respectively. They also give out additional free food throughout the year. So far, the Booba Club has offered free food at every meeting, including donuts. All these types of food encourage students to swing by and check out the club, which is evidenced when one walks into any meeting during lunch.
German Club advisor Frau Tsai explained why the German club offers free food during its first couple of meetings.
“The reason why German Club gives out free food in the beginning is to incentivize students to get out of their comfort zone and to try something new,” Tsai said.
Is it worth it? If one looks at the facts, then a clear answer is yes. Even if some students are only in it for the free food and will drop out of the club later, there will probably still be some students who will join the club — not because of the food anymore, but more because of the content and the activities that the club has.
Senior Theo Chinn is one of the German Club leaders and remarked on how well free food impacts club turnout.
“I think although a lot of people just come for food, I feel like sometimes when you come and you get that food and you actually stay and listen to the club meeting you might find yourself interested in it,” Chinn said. “Maybe not just a few, maybe a lot will actually stay and come and join the club.”
Free food is not only an attraction device for students to come to clubs, but also a reason for students to stay and find out what the club does. That can be especially beneficial for clubs to get their message out. Senior Eli Wakefield is a German club leader as well as president of the Booba Club, which offers free food in every single meeting.
“It’s really, really, really helpful. As a club president, I don’t really care whether or not they’re here for the food, I just want them to listen to what I have to say and what other people have to say, so at least we can encourage their sparks of interest, right? And so that’s the reason I like to offer free food,” Wakefield said.
Wakefield also mentioned that free food can be a way to peer pressure students into learning more about clubs. Even if they only attend meetings for food, one can feel awkward about taking food and leaving immediately without even listening to what the club is doing.
All in all, free food serves not only as an advertised incentive towards joining clubs, but also a way for students to choose to try something new while having an excuse so that they do not need to be ashamed or fearful about joining a club. So, next time there’s a club offering free food, just know that there are probably more motives behind it than the obvious, and consider becoming invested in the club’s activities more than the food.