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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 05-16-2010, 08:10 PM   #1
BigBrad
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Default Vending ?

I am thinking about vending in my home town this summer for RAGBRAI, which is an annual bike ride across Iowa. There should be close to 15,000 bike riders passing through town around lunch time. We are currently thinking about making brisket sandwiches. I am figuring on surving 1000- 1500 people. Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions. My plan is to serve sliced and chopped sandwiches on a hogie style bun. We may also do brats and use the same buns for the brats. Not sure about sides. Am I crazy? I don't know for sure.
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Unread 05-16-2010, 09:53 PM   #2
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Cycling events generally do not stop along the route, rather at the beginning or end. The team and crews for the professional teams stay with their riders thruout the course. My guess would be your only market might be any locals who come out to see the riders go by on the race route. I would be very conservative on numbers here.
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Unread 05-16-2010, 10:19 PM   #3
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I am familiar with Ragbrai which is more of a social event and even though your thinking 15,000 Crocke has a very good point. You should scale your number way back and plan on serving up 50 to 100. Think about doing it for fun and as an experience for next year. If things go well you'll sell out and run to the store for brats - if things go slow you wont be out all the money to feed 1000 eitherway you will have had fun and you'll be better prepared for the next big event like the College World Series in Omaha June 19th.
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Unread 05-17-2010, 12:07 PM   #4
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We just moved back to IA last year, after being gone 8 years, and I heard that they were really cracking down on people vending food, as far as permits and license and such...not sure what your situation is but it is something to consider.

That may just be in Audubon county too....
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Unread 05-17-2010, 01:31 PM   #5
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In the past, I've had Farmer's Market and special events permits in Iowa. This year I've upgraded to a Mobile Food Service Unit permit. I have never had a problem with the inspectors, but then again I study the regulations make sure we follow the rules. I think a lot of it depends on the inspector and your attitude toward them. Most of the inspectors are decent people with a really crappy job. Sometimes you just have to let the seemingly petty criticisms roll off your back during their visits. You can find the rules here: http://dia.iowa.gov/food/. They are good about answering specifc questions or you can PM me and I can try to help.
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Unread 05-17-2010, 04:16 PM   #6
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Good points and I should have said that I was specifically talking about selling food during RAGBRAI...
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Unread 05-17-2010, 07:47 PM   #7
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Can't speak to how RAGBRAI is being run. I'm sure the Register's organizers would want a lot of control over how the towns on the route handle things like this. Could be a good opportunity if there are not too many flaming hoops to jump through.
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Unread 05-17-2010, 09:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCDoctor_1979 View Post
Can't speak to how RAGBRAI is being run. I'm sure the Register's organizers would want a lot of control over how the towns on the route handle things like this. Could be a good opportunity if there are not too many flaming hoops to jump through.
I think it would be a great opportunity to set up in one of their overnight towns.
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Unread 05-18-2010, 09:08 PM   #9
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I'm right in the middle of the days ride. Shortest ride of the week only 54 miles from Algona to Clear lake. Would like to set up in Clear lake but they want $750 to set up a food booth. Here in Britt it's a lot less than that. I'm hoping that the short day will lead to more of a party atmosphere. I think that it could be a great day or it could be an OK day. The town has been great so far and it should be no problem getting the proper permits from the state. My biggest concern is cooking enough meat. Thanks for the input so far.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 05:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBrad View Post
I'm right in the middle of the days ride. Shortest ride of the week only 54 miles from Algona to Clear lake. Would like to set up in Clear lake but they want $750 to set up a food booth. Here in Britt it's a lot less than that. I'm hoping that the short day will lead to more of a party atmosphere. I think that it could be a great day or it could be an OK day. The town has been great so far and it should be no problem getting the proper permits from the state. My biggest concern is cooking enough meat. Thanks for the input so far.
There's a reason they want $750 for vending. It's obviously where the money will be spent. As already said look for local business and keep it small unless you have first hand knowledge of how it went last year. Also watch the weather and paln so that if it turns bad you don't have thousands in meat and buns that is either a write off or needs to be frozen quickly. It's hard to safely cool 200 lbs of pork.
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