Restaurants willing to barter in Wichita
In between customers at the Espresso to Go Go at 120 E. First St., where Little Lion Ice Cream also has a tiny cafe set up, owners Warren Tandoc and Ian Miller have some pretty deep discussions.
Recently, the topic was capitalism.
“We were sitting there thinking about alternatives to traditional capitalism and about how we are both frustrated at times about how people think we should do this and about how a lot of companies lose touch with the basic essence of their business as they grow and become more successful,” Tandoc said.
An idea was hatched, one that the two businessmen thought was both humorous and practical: They would barter with their customers for their coffee, waffles, burritos and ice cream.
From 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the businesses are putting on their first Barter Day, and they’re asking customers to come haggle for their breakfast. The idea is that customers who have things the business owners want, either for their personal or business use, can get coffee and food in return.
“We wanted to remove money from the equation and do this with some different motivation,” Tandoc said.
To help customers understand what types of items the owners would and would not accept, each composed and posted wish lists.
Tandoc, for example, listed art, bicycles, comic books, functional cars, VW parts, movie memorabilia, unborn baby souls, diamonds, gold and myrrh. (He’s serious about at least half of those.)
Miller would take photography services, organic produce, yoga classes, wine, craft beer, live music performances and services like plumbing. He’d really like a cargo van. (“You could eat waffles for a very long time,” he said.)
The owners want customers to get creative — and to understand how bartering works. Some offerings may be worth just a single cup of joe. Others could result in long-term trading deals.
And some deals might not be worth making. In that case, the businesses will still accept cash and cards, as always.
“The purpose of this event is to have fun, and we’ll do our best to facilitate a mutually beneficial barter transaction,” the businesses wrote on their Facebook post about Barter Day. “However, it’s possible that in some cases we may have to rely on traditional currency to come to an agreement. If the value of your barter is greater than the amount of our treats you’d like to consume on Saturday, the balance can be loaded on a gift card for later use.”
The businesses say that if Barter Day goes well, they’ll likely try it again.
Either way, it ought to be entertaining, Tandoc said.