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View Full Version : Vending first festival, a few questions


cpw
09-19-2012, 09:42 AM
I've read through the threads here, and have seen how people are coming up with total number of customers, (In my case, organizer says 5000-7500 people, so I'm using 6000, divide that by 2, and then divide that by number of vendors (6) for a total of 500 servings)

So I have potentially 500 servings. We're planning on doing PP sandwiches, PP plates, and PP nachos. How do I determine how many of each product to plan for, and how do sides figure into it?

I'd much rather sell out than bring food home.

Thanks for any help!

cpw
09-20-2012, 11:00 AM
Anyone?

rgrizzle
09-20-2012, 05:35 PM
I'm in the same boat as you. Trying to figure it all out also for my first festival.

cpw
09-20-2012, 06:24 PM
I'm in the same boat as you. Trying to figure it all out also for my first festival.

I was keeping on eye on your thread hoping someone would respond to yours.

Bbq Bubba
09-20-2012, 07:57 PM
Your numbers are not bad.
May i suggest losing the nachos and plate and just sell sammies with a side option?
Lower food cost, less waste and a faster flowing line.

cpw
09-21-2012, 07:39 AM
Your numbers are not bad.
May i suggest losing the nachos and plate and just sell sammies with a side option?
Lower food cost, less waste and a faster flowing line.


We had to give a menu in advance, so it's too late to change that now. Since we have the 3 main products, is there any way to figure out how many of each item to prep for, or is it as simple as dividing total number by 3?

Hawg Father of Seoul
09-21-2012, 07:50 AM
Okay. They can not do anything if you "run out" of something. Guesstimate your nacho chips and cheese from that.

For sides I would get 4 or 5 #10 cans of Bush's beans. Open the next can when you are about half way through the last can. Add your BBQ sauce and some PP to the beans. Sams has some decent potato salad. You can dress it up with some bacon, extra pickles, or nothing at all. The key is not to serve it out of the tubs you buy it in. I like small bags of chips. I would sell them for a dollar so that they run out for sure.

If your food is good, it does not matter how much you make, it will go. If the going is too slow.... samples or more smoke in the air. Both work.

BBQ_Mayor
09-21-2012, 07:53 AM
I'd say divide by 3 or maybe a little less than that. Pork is cheep so cook extra to have enough to cover all your costs. Don't forget to figure your size of bun, bigger bun will take more meat. But you don't want to go smaller than the other vendors.

cpw
09-21-2012, 08:08 AM
Great info! Thanks for the help!!

centexsmoker
09-25-2012, 08:37 PM
great advice from all above. I've catered several large events but never a festival. Very wise choice on pulled pork. super easy to hold and keep warm and very flexible on the presentation (nachos to sammies).

I think the smartest thing said on the whole thread was by OP. "i would rather sell out than bring food home". It's a festival. It's all about making bank and not about customer service. I say go heavy on sammies on small buns and plan to run out of the fringe items early.

Good luck

centexsmoker
09-25-2012, 08:45 PM
and I would add that beans are a tough item to serve at a festival- Too messy. I would do finger foods only if you can. Beans are a great catering food normally because they are filling and cheap. Was only thinking of the way people eat at festivals- standing up with their hands.

HBMTN
09-26-2012, 04:38 PM
I do a similar size event every fall and it runs from 11am-5pm and I go through about 30 butts, 2 briskets, 2-3 gallons of each side plus same amount of slaw. Don't know what to tell ya on the nachos except maybe have enough for 30-40 orders maybe.

cpw
09-26-2012, 04:54 PM
Thanks for the additional tips. The good thing about the beans is that we're going to cook them one can at a time, so we'll never have too much. If they don't sell, we just won't make anymore.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

JimmyDAL
09-27-2012, 12:59 AM
Good luck!

centexsmoker
09-27-2012, 03:59 PM
Thanks for the additional tips. The good thing about the beans is that we're going to cook them one can at a time, so we'll never have too much. If they don't sell, we just won't make anymore.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

Good call. that works. Good luck! I can tell you one thing for sure, you are going to need a nap after and your feet are going to hurt like hell for about 3 days :)

Good times though

wyocurt
09-27-2012, 06:02 PM
Do beans on a stick!!!!!! Just kidding, Do Plenty of pork as it freezes well for your next event. You can't make money if you run out of an item. Good Luck and hope everything turns out well.

cpw
09-28-2012, 08:00 AM
Good call. that works. Good luck! I can tell you one thing for sure, you are going to need a nap after and your feet are going to hurt like hell for about 3 days :)

Good times though

Lucky for me, I'm just the cook. I've got other people serving! I get to sit!

cpw
09-30-2012, 04:37 PM
An update from this weekend's vending event. This was a one day competition/festival, with sales starting at 5 and going until 11. We borrowed a concession trailer equipped with a fryer and a griddle, which we planned on using to make fries and keep the nacho cheese sauce warm.

We get there and setup, and the woman running the festival tells us we can't use the generator on the trailer because it would be too loud (even though we told them exactly what generator we had beforehand) so she let us borrow her smaller generator. The only problem was that we couldn't use the fryer, so no French fries.

Once we got into the thick of it, the griddle was waaay to hot and the cheese wasn't warming up so we decided to scratch the nachos and only sale PP sandwiches and plates. We were planning on 300 total sales, and we ended up selling just over 200. Sales were very strong for about 2 hours, then it started to rain, so things slowed down pretty quickly. Around 9, we were all out of slaw, buns, and chips for sides, so we decided to call it a day.

All in all, not a terrible day, we ended up making about $1200 profit, plus we won 2nd place ribs, people's choice pork, and grand champion for the competition (it was unsanctioned).

We'll be vending our second contest at the end of the month, so this was a great learning experience.

The_Kapn
09-30-2012, 04:46 PM
Great that it worked out for you.

The experience will be invaluable the next time.

TIM

little bit of r & r
09-30-2012, 07:45 PM
What were your gross sales if you made $1200 profit on 200 sales?

cpw
09-30-2012, 08:12 PM
We sold just over $2000.

Jacked UP BBQ
09-30-2012, 09:29 PM
I vend for a living, however you were able to pull off 55% profit off of those sales is amazing. You must be a slave driver! hahah I cant even get my net profit percentage into the 40's unless I get into the high teens in sales. Good for you man. COngrats on the win too!

rgrizzle
10-01-2012, 01:19 AM
That's awsome I've been keeping an eye on this thread. I have my first event starting this Thursday running until Saturday. I went today and bought 300 take out containers and 400 untinsel packages plus about $200 more dollars of supplies hopefully this will get me through the first day and a half. I'm glad things went well any other info would be great. Like prices. Menu ect.

JimmyDAL
10-01-2012, 05:55 AM
Congrats and keep it going!

cpw
10-01-2012, 07:27 AM
I vend for a living, however you were able to pull off 55% profit off of those sales is amazing. You must be a slave driver! hahah I cant even get my net profit percentage into the 40's unless I get into the high teens in sales. Good for you man. COngrats on the win too!

That's why we were able to make a profit....we all worked for free, this was basically just a way to keep the pot full for the next competition. If we had to pay ourselves, we wouldn't have made much profit at all (if any).

That's awsome I've been keeping an eye on this thread. I have my first event starting this Thursday running until Saturday. I went today and bought 300 take out containers and 400 untinsel packages plus about $200 more dollars of supplies hopefully this will get me through the first day and a half. I'm glad things went well any other info would be great. Like prices. Menu ect.

Our menu was pretty basic: PP sandwich for $6, PP sandwich + 1 side $7, and a PP plate (meat + 2 sides) for $8. Drinks for $1.

For sides, we did coleslaw (which was super easy to keep up with), baked beans (which were a little harder to keep up with) and chips (we bought a 50 pack box that we ran out of).

The other issue was reheating the pork. We cooked it all beforehand and froze it. The plan was to reheat in boiling water, but we never had a chance to time how long it took to reheat (got too busy too quick) so we were running out of pork before the next batch was hot.

Bbq Bubba
10-01-2012, 03:41 PM
Your numbers are not bad.
May i suggest losing the nachos and plate and just sell sammies with a side option?
Lower food cost, less waste and a faster flowing line.

Uh hummmm.....remember this? :wink:

Congrats on your first go round!

rgrizzle
10-01-2012, 04:09 PM
your meu and pricing is right n line with what I was thinking. Thanks

cpw
10-01-2012, 04:59 PM
Uh hummmm.....remember this? :wink:

Congrats on your first go round!

I remembered :D but by the time you had mentioned it, we had already purchased the supplies. Luckily the guy we borrowed the trailer from sells regular nachos so nothing will go to waste.

Bub-B-Que
10-05-2012, 06:33 AM
I have done 5 small festivals this year like the one you are talking about. Have one this weekend that's both Saturday and Sunday actually and it's the last one of the season for me.

The way I like to judge how much to make goes off a lot of what is mentioned above by everyone but I will add in my check list below:

-Projected Attendance (I've found its normally about 80% of what they say and even though rule of thumb is 1/4 per person, I normally do 1/3 a lb per person on meat)
-How late in the festival/ craft show season is it?
-Weather Forecast!!!
-Ask the event staff what previous attendance has been in the past 3 years. Then ask for a food vendors number who has been there before so you can call and ask them (has it gone up, down or stayed the same?)
- How many food vendors and how close are they to you?
-Are there food vendors there also serving BBQ? (sometimes it's a festival no-no to allow more than one but it happens)
-Check the festival map, where is my spot? (is it a good location or did they stick me in a corner?)

Once I weigh all of these points then I try figure on how much to make. Keep the number a little conservative because it's better to fire up the cooker Saturday night to make more than it is bringing home 30 extra lbs of pork in Sunday and not having the freezer space. 80% of the time we have been spot on. Festival goes from 10a-5p and were sold out by 4 and cleaning up as much as possible without breaking everything down to go home. However I will say I have been burned once or twice as well. Rain rolled in on one and the other there were twice as many people that attended than was expected and we sold out 4 hrs before we could leave. Doing festivals like these are a gamble sometimes if it's your first go around and I will also throw out there it's good to keep record of how much you sold and what sold the best. One show you will sell pork like it's the last time people will ever get a chance to eat it and then the next you will sell a side worth of beef.

If you get to the festival and it's not what you expected it to be and there's not as much of a crowd try to find a way to stand out above everyone else if possible. You want (good) attention brought to your set up. A few things that have helped me has been posting on a dry erase board during the slow selling times (2-3 pm) that it's ''Happy Hour!" 1$ off all sandwiches and platters. You may pull in a few extra customers that way. Also I like to try BBQ trivia with people as they walk by. And last but not least a good game of Rock, Paper, Scissors for a $1 off is a oldie but goodie. 2 out of 3 wins (always lose on purpose to help make the sale)

As far as sides, the thing I have found is if you have fresh cut FF on your menu, that's the #1 seller with a platter. Make sure you designate someone to handle just the fryer and pay them well because they're going to work like a rented mule! Potato salad normally is the last thing to sell along with baked beans and Slaw reigns supreme right behind the fries along with small bags of chips.

From the drink perspective I normally get 2 cases of water, 2 flats of Coke, 1 Diet and 1 12 pack of Sprite for a 2 day festival.

I hope this all helps you out and good luck!