Sign this NDA for our RFP so we can CYA

Recently I received a call from the corporate office of a franchise organization. The nice gentleman on the phone told me that a few dozen of their franchisees were using Schedulefly and liked it, so the organization would like to invite us to participate in their RFP (request for proposal) to become that organization’s preferred restaurant employee scheduling vendor. He would be happy to tell me more, but first I’d just need to sign their Non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and it would be good to sign quickly because other restaurant scheduling providers had already been invited and had signed, and the process would start soon.

I took this in, paused, and said, “We really are excited to hear that your franchisees that use Schedulefly like our software and like doing business with us, and we really appreciate you calling to invite us into your process. But we prefer not to participate in these types of things. Nothing against you or your organization of course. We just don’t do RFPs.”

(several moments of uncomfortable silence as the guy tried to figure out if I were joking)

“Well Wil, I admire you sticking to your philosophy of not participating in RFP’s, but I hope you’ll reconsider?”

I thanked him again and told him good luck, but we would take our chances with not being a part of the process. There was a slightly awkward end to the conversation (I could tell he was thinking, “Really? Is this guy for real?”), and then we hung up.

All I could do was smile. No NDAs. No RFPs. No other acronyms to think about other than OMG I’m glad we don’t get involved in that stuff. You see, we have no problem being a preferred vendor for franchise organizations. In fact, we are just that for two or three of them. But in those cases we simply got a call from the organization and we were told they had checked with their franchisees and dome some due diligence and wanted to tell the rest of their organization about us. I think the calls those franchise organizations have made to us were just to check the last box on their list: “Make sure there are real people running this business and they aren’t morons.”

Seriously, it was that simple. So when I start hearing acronyms and think about signing some document I’d have to pay an attorney to review before I put my name on it, I get anxious. I get disinterested. And I get very focused on ending the conversation as soon as possible and politely thanking the person for the opportunity, and then declining.

We run a simple business built for restaurants and restaurant people with simple needs. We know we are not the right fit for everybody, and rather than trying to prove otherwise, we are happy to know who we are.

And who we aren’t.