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E Mellow 12-07-2009 11:23 AM

Food Festivals
Do any of you guys have insight one way or another on doing a taste of your city type of event or a rib festival? I am talking about a large event with 5,000+ atendees minimum. Our commercail bbq experience is limited to competitions and small catering gigs. Would we be in over our heads? Are these types of events profitable? How much food would we need to be able to make? Just looking for any kind of advice, thank you in advance.

Bbq Bubba 12-07-2009 07:12 PM

That would be a long answer.

To many factors involved but figure feeding 5-10% of that number.
If you can cook, hold and serve that many you should be able to handle it.
If you only have done small catering gigs i'm guessing you never been thru a HD inspection so lots to learn.
Check this forum for lots of good threads on these subjects. :biggrin:

E Mellow 12-07-2009 07:35 PM

In the process of getting a mobile food permit currently and I figured with the mobile kitchen attending a few of these events might be within reach. There is an army of people that are willing to lend a hand so the legistics of prepping, cooking, serving should all go fine. Experience more specifically is catering gigs in the 50-150 person range and charity cooks vending 50ish slabs of ribs. Im really just curious if its worth our time to do a few? Or does the amount of vendors at these events really suck out the chance of making any money? 5-10% seems like descent neumber.

Bbq Bubba 12-07-2009 07:51 PM

How many vendors?
How many BBQ vendors?
Like i said, theres a thousand if's. Best bet is to read whats already here and keep asking questions. :biggrin:

I did 3 large events this summer. Broke even on 1. Made money on 2. Learned a TON so i'll be ready for the next time.

Vending at fairs is like playing russian roulette. :roll:

Find out who has vended this event before and contact them. You may be able to get a better feel for what needs to be done!

E Mellow 12-07-2009 07:56 PM


Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba (Post 1105861)
Find out who has vended this event before and contact them. You may be able to get a better feel for what needs to be done!

That is great advice! Luckily I'm 5 months out from the first event that I was looking at, that should give me enough time to make an educated decision.

Jerk Pit Master 12-07-2009 09:11 PM

Many "taste of" events are charity findraisers where the organizer charges attendees a flat fee and you are simply providing marketing samples of your food or one where the attendees is selling $amount tickets that attendees can use at your booth and you turn those tickets for 80 cents on the $ or so. Either way they are more of a event for your to market yourself to your target audience rather than make a lot of money.

BigJimsBBQ 12-07-2009 10:34 PM

The other question is what size smoker you are using to turn out the Q. The weather is a huge factor on turn-out / potential Customers. Make sure you do a spreadsheet with costs on one side (include not only product cost but roll in all costs including lodgeing, space charges, $1M Bonding Insurance, gas, etc against proofit prodictions and break even product sales. Once you see product to meet break even, see if 5% of last years attendance is high enough to make your profit margin.

There are so many variables, it truely is a roll of the dice, but good planning and selecting only profital potential festivals shifts the odds in your favor.

Good Luck

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