Rancho Cucamonga Grape Harvest Festival- I write a lot about owning and operating a hot dog business. One of the many opportunities that will arise is to sell your food at public events. It sounds good right? You talk to the promoter and are given the expected attendance and how many people came to the last event. You also ask how many food vendors will be attending. You don’t want more food vendors than people actually going to the event right? Then you ask how much for the spot and make a decision based on those facts.
Well there is one more step you might want to consider and I know this is not practiced very much. That is to ask the food vendors who attended last years event how well they did. Sounds crazy and you may have to go through a few to get an honest answer, but its worth the time and effort as I am about to explain.
Last August my company was invited to sell our food at the Rancho Cucamonga Grape Harvest Festival. We did the research, talked to the promoter and were told over 20,000 people were expected this year, and had about the same attendance in years past. This was after all the 73rd annual festival and was promoted in the local newspaper. The one piece of research we didn’t do was to find out who was at the event last year and ask if they were coming back this year. Big Mistake.
What we found out after setting up and getting settled in was that all the food vendors were new this year. That’s a huge red flag! We also found out that on the first night of the festival that either the city or chamber of commerce had a huge tent in the middle of the food court and were giving out free food!
Attendance that weekend was probably about 2000 people not 20,000. Every food vendor lost money that weekend. One vendor I talked to banked all he had on that event to pay his bills for the month. So a couple of points I want to make: If you are in my local area and are approached to do this event, kindly turn it down. Second, if you are asked to do an event even if its the 73rd annual do all your research and make an intelligent decision to attend the event or not. it will save you a lot of grief in the long run.