Got in my first festival - need some help

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by buckscent, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. buckscent

    buckscent Fire Starter

    I got into my first festival.  It is a small one to start out with. Last 2 years between they had between 10K-15K people.  It is a Friday and Saturday.  They only allow 4 food vendors, How many people should I plan for?  I saw a percentage on here before but can't seem to find it.  Will be doing sandwiches, plates, burgers, sides and a couple other thinks.
  2. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thats alot of people to feed. My theory is that its better to have more then less. I know a few guys on here have done larger events and will be able to help you out. Good Luck
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  3. buckscent

    buckscent Fire Starter

    Other vendors that I can remember are boy scouts that do traditional burders, dogs, chips and drinks.  There is a sweet treat vendor and a beans and cornbread vendor that also does burgers, philly cheese steak and I forgot what else.  I will be doing BBQ pork and chicken sandwiches, pork, chicken and rib plates with 2 sides (Cole Slaw, Tater Salad or Fries). Smoked sausage with peppers and onions, burgers (maybe mushroom swiss and bacon swiss), chicken finger basket and thinking about turkey legs and maybe smoked corn on the cobb
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is a lot to tackle for the first time. I would really consider just doing a couple of sandwiches and no plates. How much help are you going to have? Do you have chafers? How are yoy going to keep this hot and meet the Helth Dept standards?

    There is a lot of stuff to consider. If the health department comes by and puts a temp probe in your food and it does not meet the 140 mimimum you could find yourself tossing out a lot of food. They make youd do it in front of them to ensure you did it.  Just make sure you are prepared to meet all of the rules.  You can sometimes rent Cambro boxes to keep up temps and there are temporary chafers you can use too

    Good luck
  5. Buck, I, like Scarbelly, have to say that is a lot of food to keep hot and ready to serve.  I think if I were you I would maybe pair down my menu to just what you can handle and specialize in, like pulled pork sandwiches, and maybe some smoked sausage with peppers and onions. I know how the health dept. can be, they came to a festival that I helped organize and out of 5 vendors, 3 had to dump a lot of food in the trash while the health dept. guy watched, you sure don't want to get into that situation. Let the scouts do burgers and leave the chicken off is kind of what I was thinking but just remember that the food has to be 140 degrees at all times till you hand it to the customer.  You may have some equipment and skills and lots of help that I am not aware of but just don't get in over your head and then possibly end up having to get rid of some good food because it is 10 or 15 degrees to cool.  Best of luck to you and don't forget the Q-View or in this case we might better say the Buffet-View.  Take care Buck, we wish you the very best!

    Your SMF Friend,

    Barry  [​IMG]
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Good luck, Buck. Let us know how it goes.
  7. buckscent

    buckscent Fire Starter

    I see what you guys are saying...  I think I will do just pp sandwiches, fries and chicken finger basket (For the kids) and a smoked sausage with peppers and onions.  What I plan on doing is setting up Thursday and smoking for Friday then.  Then I will smoke Saturdays meat on Friday while we are selling.  I should have 3-4 people helping me.  Now for the warming, what I "Usually" do is put butts and ribs in coolers and it keeps them warm for hours just like the cambro boxes Unless I am missing something.   Anyone have some cambro box's for sale cheap??? :)

    I might do fried twinkies, oreos and fried green beens, but then again I am adding more to the menu again :)

    Here is my rig by the way
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  8. What part of central Alabama are you in?
  9. buckscent

    buckscent Fire Starter

     Between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.  You????
  10. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Man o man that is some trailer. I can see how you could have a larger menu in that rig!
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice rig! I am guessing they won't let you hold hot meat from the previous day overnight in a cooler. I agree with smoking it the day before, but I would plan on pulling the pork and putting it into hotel pans and then popping them into a fridge. Reheat them the day you are going to serve them by putting a little finishing sauce (or apple juice) in the pan and either popping them in an steamer or oven or your smoker for a couple of hours.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice Rig Buck.

    What you were talking about seemed impossible to me, until I saw that rig!!!

    Best Of Luck,

  13. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    from a business point of view you menu is too much. you are at a venue where you want to push people through the line as fast as you can. limiting the menu will help in this area as well as in the inventory and storage areas. i would nix the cold salads and eliminate the need to keep things cold. operationally it eliminates energy or ice cost as well as health code risks and are 2 less things to buy,store, and deal with.......stick with fries. i would also nix the peppers and onions......have you seen the cost of peppers right now? instead, serve the smoked sausage on a thick skewer like they use for candied apples in a boat or basket with fries. now all you are buying is pork, buns, fries, sausages, and chicken fingers with the other items eliminated there is more room to store more of these items and less tasks to do for the 3-4 people and the lines will move faster. another thing to think of is less choices for people to debate over and again the line will move faster. i worked for a guy who specializes in this sort of thing, he does festivals for 100,000 people all the time and the key to a successful gig is to MOVE THE LINE! if your line is not moving they will decide on something else even if they wanted your product..........just my 2 cents. good luck!
  14. buckscent

    buckscent Fire Starter

    thanks guy's and I will take most\some of the advise. BUT.....  How many people can\should I plan for 10%, 20%?????? again 4 vendors 10K-12K people
  15. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    shoot high.....1/3 of the people.
  16. buckscent

    buckscent Fire Starter

    Another question, say 33% come to my booth and there are 10K people (maybe a little high) how many turkey legs should I get vs pp?
  17. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    One other thing you need to check on right away. Does the festival allow you to sell anything you want? You might not be able to sell an item already covered by other vendors. Most festivals do something like this to protect vendors so everyone makes money and comes back. It might even be in the fine print on your paperwork.

    Like ChefRob said -keep it to just a few items no matter what they are. You want VOLUME and I am not sure you can buy enough variety AND keep your food costs below 40% if you do too much variety and have to toss food.  
  18. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    Wow what a sweet rig that is can do some serious smoke in that.[​IMG]
  19. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    good points gary......we have run into these situations.
  20. smokey mo

    smokey mo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    My question is if you are cooking day before how are you going to store that product and the if it chilled where are you going to reheat it if you also have to cook the next days fare.  If it were to PP then that might work to pan reheat but everything else would take up smoker space. 

    that is a pretty sweet setup.  have you used it much or is this the maiden voyage.  do you have pics inside, I would like to see the setup.

    I have only cooked for large groups in controlled settings, church outing dinner auctions and such, but I would think time management would have to be the number one priority.  even is you serve 2000-3000 people you are going to be moving fast and hard all day...

    two helpers schlepping sammies, one gopher for you to run and get stuff and then your time at the smoker.  then you have to consider down time, clean up every day and every hour, plus the ever so convenient potty breaks.

    when I cook the dinner auction we serve between 200-500 people depending on the year, I have a minimum of 8 people working and it is only a serve time of 2.5 hours.  the rest is prep clean and stow time.  we run ahead of schedule "just in case".

    I wish you the best, you are doing what I hope to do someday.  Good luck, I will be praying for your strength and the event!

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