So many variables come into play when planing for an event. It can feel overwhelming and the closer the event gets the more you second guess your planing decisions. Some of the variables that can alter your planning include:
- Event size
- Number of other vendors
- Event foods served
- Type of event
- Other vendor prices
- Event commissions
- Event rent
- Location of set up
I get emails almost daily asking; Ben, I'm doing such and such and there are xxxxx many people coming, what is a good “rule of thumb” percentage to use in factoring my potential volume? For every event there could be a different number. I have done articles on events in the past and nothing has really changed.
Due to the many variables, events are an educated guess at best. Even if you work an event every year, the numbers can change with one change in the variables above.
Below I will share my fail safe plan, it's simple and effective.
Events can make bring you huge profits or they can be a bust, heck some can even fall in between. My advice is to avoid the big events until you have some experience with smaller ones. This will eliminate the odds that you take a big loss. Thunderdogs does events and he did a guest article for the LearnHotDogs blog once. It is full of some great info that can help with your decisions.
Some vendors will say, I figure 3% or others say 1% and still others say 5% of the projected attendance will be your customer. BUT: what if there are 1000 people coming and there are 100 vendors? Odds are those percentages won't hold any weight.
You can use them to begin formulating an educated guess, but it's still an educated guess at best.
Common sense approaches are easy but not always that accurate. When I have done events and yes, I did one about 3 weeks ago now, I took the amount of projected attendance; 9,000 and they told me there would be 16 food vendors. I figured they would all be eating so I reduced the number of attendees to 7000 to take in account for the the promoters wishful thinking. Then I figured 1/16 of those would eat with me; 437 End result: the promoter allowed 3 other vendors in that did the same menu as I and I did about half the volume I had expected. So, another variable wreaked havoc on my common sense estimates.
Your location within the event is crucial as well. I was placed in a spot that was horrid. They allowed a late arrival artist to set up in front of me which blocked my stands view from the main traffic. I have seen event coordinators put people near bathrooms or animal exhibits and this can turn your event into a loser. ALWAYS FIND OUT WHERE THEY ARE PUTTING YOU.
Some event coordinators will overbook concessions, without regard to your success, so that they provide more than enough choices for the attendees but this will greatly effect your outcome. Too many vendors will spread the overall sales among too many vendors. Simple, huh?
I want to hear from you.
- Have you done any events?
- What have you learned?
- What would you do differently at the next one?
- What method do you use for determining how much food to prepare and take?
As promised, my simple fail proof method for planning for an event: Take enough product that would be considered a good day if you sold out, let's say 400 hot dogs. Truth is, you may sell out hours before the event is over, you may have to go home early and count money, you may have missed more money from potential sales, but all in all 400 hot dogs in a day ain't that bad.
Be sure to read this post from Thunderdog.
Received this letter today from one Mr. Mark Dixon of Dixon's Dawgs about his event this past weekend.
Follow up from Mark: Things I would do differently? Let me see. First I didn't have total control of the hamburgers because one of my grills malfunctioned so they ended up on the smoker which I knew nothing about. Since it was the first time we had ventured outside dogs and sausages we probably added too many things at the same time with burgers, barbecue and sides. Keeping everything cold in coolers was difficult. If I had the capital for a larger cooling system and a trailer to haul it all things wouldn't have been as hard. A great experience though and wonderful music and people. Also I should have done a better job with signage.