Question about running the concession at an event.

Author Message
Relentless
  • Total Posts : 150
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 3/21/2005
  • Location: Kentucky
Question about running the concession at an event. - Fri, 10/19/12 11:43 AM
0
I am a bit out of my comfort zone here. I am working an event in a couple of weeks that is expected to be attended by 1,000-1,500 people. That figure was given to me by the organizer, and confirmed by some of the employees who work where the event has been held in years past. For the purposes of this post, lets assume that number holds up. This is an auction that runs from 8-4 on a Saturday. Everything indoors.
 
The room I will work out of is about 10 X 20 with a 10' or so roll up window & is located on the end of the main hall where the event takes place. I am the only food vendor & it is about a 3 block walk to restaurants.
 
The menu will be simple. Pulled pork sandwiches, brats & a quarter pound hot dog/chili dog. Chips, water, canned sodas & sweet tea. For the morning I will be there with coffee, but am undecided on anything else...sausage biscuit, biscuit & gravy etc.
 
So...how in the world do you determine what percentage of these folks you might feed?
 
Thanks in advance for your comments.........John

roadkillgrill
  • Total Posts : 174
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 8/1/2009
  • Location: Helena, AR
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Fri, 10/19/12 12:57 PM
0
Always go by their lower count. We use this formula.
Attendance * 25% = # of people buying something /(divided) by # of vendors = ticket count
ie. 1000*.25=250/1=250
now you have to know at what % each items sells . ie. if 20%of your sales are drinks, that would be approx 50 drinks, etc. Of course I always take more.
(in our neck of the woods, chili cheese anything(messy) doesn't sell well in an indoor event, ie craft show, flea market)

FriedTater
  • Total Posts : 414
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 6/21/2008
  • Location: Badlands of New Mexico
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Fri, 10/19/12 2:36 PM
0
If i had used the above formula last weekend, I would have shut down in a hour and a half after opening.
30,000 people  * 25%=7,500 buyers  * 40 vendors = 187 tickets
I did close to a thousand "tickets"
I will be doing something simular to what you mentioned above the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is something new to me. I have no idea how much to take. Its a gut estimate. If I`m lucky, I sell out, if not, I know what I`m going to eat till Christmas morning.

RodBangkok
  • Total Posts : 385
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 10/12/2008
  • Location: Bangkok Thailand, XX
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Fri, 10/19/12 4:22 PM
0
Would'nt it be nice if a mathematical formula worked for this....its more like a crystal ball you'll need.  For new venues when your not sure what your up against be prepared with some contingency items and have a runner available.  Check out any suppliers close to the venue ahead of time and have in your mind what you could put together quickly. Better than being the only guy at a venue with nothing to serve!

Uncle Groucho
  • Total Posts : 207
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 11/2/2010
  • Location: Floyd County, IN
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Fri, 10/19/12 5:42 PM
0
Hello, I cant help you with numbers but I know Kentuckians, when you say Chips, do you mean NACHOS and Cheese or bags of chips? Nachos and Cheese sell big in the Louisville area.

roadkillgrill
  • Total Posts : 174
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 8/1/2009
  • Location: Helena, AR
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Fri, 10/19/12 5:51 PM
0
40 food vendors???WOW.  Myself, I'd never even consider a fest with that many vendors for only 30,000 people. Glad they dont do that around here.

Relentless
  • Total Posts : 150
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 3/21/2005
  • Location: Kentucky
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Fri, 10/19/12 9:38 PM
0
Thanks to all for your replies! It IS a crap shoot & I don't have a crystal ball:-) Unless something changes my mind, I plan on serving about half of those in attendance....so 500-600...I'll have plenty of pork butts and 100+ each on the brats and dogs. If that ain't enough, well....I'm screwed:-)
 
And by chips, I meant bagged chips.

Dr of BBQ
  • Total Posts : 3716
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 10/11/2004
  • Location: Springfield, IL
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Sat, 10/20/12 6:48 PM
0
roadkillgrill


40 food vendors???WOW.  Myself, I'd never even consider a fest with that many vendors for only 30,000 people. Glad they dont do that around here.

 
I do a BBQ event each year and there are 40 vendors selling BBQ not just 40 vendors but 40 selling BBQ! It's a ticket event, and I'm always in the top 3 when it comes to the ticket count. And my prices on average are 15% higher than any other vendor. By the way this is an event that only draws 15000 people or at least that's what they tell us is the attendance.
 
My advice is take more than you can ever sell "NEVER RUN OUT". The only things you'll waste are buns and if you do really well you can throw away 75.00 worth of bread.  Or better yet give them to the food bank.

Relentless
  • Total Posts : 150
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 3/21/2005
  • Location: Kentucky
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Sat, 10/20/12 9:20 PM
0
Dr of BBQ
 

My advice is take more than you can ever sell "NEVER RUN OUT". The only things you'll waste are buns and if you do really well you can throw away 75.00 worth of bread.  Or better yet give them to the food bank.

 
Good advice......I've come close a time or two, but never run out yet. Of course, I may look at it differently. When doing lunch only, running out is having nothing left to sell at 2:00..........selling out is having nothing left at 4:00 :-) I am OK with that.

Dr of BBQ
  • Total Posts : 3716
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 10/11/2004
  • Location: Springfield, IL
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Sat, 10/20/12 11:31 PM
0
One more thought if you'll permit me, sometimes running out at a daily gig can promote more demand. The best St Louis BBQ places # 1 and #2 are owned by the same people. They cook a set amount each day and when they run out of Ribs or what ever they post a hand written sign on the front door. And if your in line (and yes they have lines) and they run out of your choice (ribs, chicken, pulled pork, or brisket)  your out of luck.And they have created a shortage in order to create a demand for their product.
 
But that's not an event. At an event you only have one shot at the money, get it while you can! LOL

Relentless
  • Total Posts : 150
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 3/21/2005
  • Location: Kentucky
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Sun, 10/21/12 7:18 AM
0
Dr of BBQ


One more thought if you'll permit me, sometimes running out at a daily gig can promote more demand. The best St Louis BBQ places # 1 and #2 are owned by the same people. They cook a set amount each day and when they run out of Ribs or what ever they post a hand written sign on the front door. And if your in line (and yes they have lines) and they run out of your choice (ribs, chicken, pulled pork, or brisket)  your out of luck.And they have created a shortage in order to create a demand for their product.

But that's not an event. At an event you only have one shot at the money, get it while you can! LOL

 
I understand what you are saying. We have a few local places that do exactly that...I am not sure how early you have to get to one of them in order to get chicken, but I've never made it.
 
And yes, this is certainly a one shot deal. I'm going to take your advice and cook more than I think I'll ever need...we'll see what happens. Worst case is that I have to vacuum pack what's left & my two sons end up taking it back to college with them:-)

Foodbme
  • Total Posts : 9567
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 9/1/2006
  • Location: Gilbert, AZ
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Sun, 10/21/12 10:50 PM
0
Looking at your limited menu, everything there can be frozen, even the buns. Go for it!

roadkillgrill
  • Total Posts : 174
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 8/1/2009
  • Location: Helena, AR
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Wed, 10/24/12 10:00 AM
0
Interesting the differences from the North and the South!!!! Dr., we live off our regulars don't we!! Our regulars are our bread and butter, the newbies are the icing on the cake....

Yes, NEVER run out!!! There's always next week, and in our case ...tomorrow.
My dad said something (different industry, but still applies) that I always go by,  If you run out, you didn't do your job... 

Dr of BBQ
  • Total Posts : 3716
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 10/11/2004
  • Location: Springfield, IL
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Wed, 10/24/12 11:34 AM
0
Dr., we live off our regulars don't we!!
 
Yes we do and your dad is right. Never leave money on the table.
If 4 or 5 of my fellow vendors are selling the same product at a cheaper price and then close early because they ran out of product, I just smile all the way to the events end. If I ever plan on running out I want it to be 15 minutes before closing time.

Relentless
  • Total Posts : 150
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 3/21/2005
  • Location: Kentucky
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Sun, 11/4/12 10:14 AM
0
Well...it's over....didn't go broke by any means and got a lesson or two, so it's all good!
 
Attendance was about as advertised and we stayed busy. Had a line from 10:30 to 3:00 but never too long. I did run out of some items, but mostly later in the day. Cooked too many brats and I'm not going to admit how many pork butts I had left over Or buns. Gave a couple of butts and some buns to a local mission/homeless shelter and know what to do with the rest, so that's OK. The event organizer was well pleased and wants to work with me again, plus the folks that own the building want me to work some other events they have upcoming...so that end of it worked well.
 
Lessons:
Bring more hot dogs than you think you have any use for...they will sell. Same for sodas.
 
Forget burgers...more trouble than they are worth IMHO.
 
What is it with coffee drinkers? Lots of these guys bought a cup in the morning and were still coming back for refills at closing time At least I had plenty.
 
Know your prospective clientele. I had shared my menu with the event organizer. One of the items was barbequed bologna. She was like...barbequed what? Told me that a lot of the attendee's were "Yankees" and were unlikely to order that. She was right...I even put samples on the counter & some wouldn't even try it...never mind buy it. There were enough good ole boys in attendance that I ended up having one slice left over. I will almost always sell out of that, as many around here seem to have an emotional attachment to BBQ'd or fried bologna. "I want some of that...my Mama used to fix that for me....I was growed up on that". Works for me!
 
At any rate...made enough to be willing to do it again...paid my kids and a couple of friends too much for working for me, and had a good time. Wife hasn't taken her cut yet...she seems to think pretty highly of her services, so not sure where I will end up on it! Thanks to everyone here for your comments & wisdom!

Dr of BBQ
  • Total Posts : 3716
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 10/11/2004
  • Location: Springfield, IL
Re:Question about running the concession at an event. - Mon, 11/5/12 6:58 AM
0
Relentless Congratulations.
"This is a defining moment. Winner, winner! Chicken Dinner!"
to quote from my favorite movie. Roy 'Tin Cup' McAvoy