Running a food stand at a music festival or any large scale event is a great way to create tons of exposure for your business. Just ask Jessica Perjes, who owns Tacotlan, a Chicago-Mexican restaurant that sold food at Suenos Festival in 2022. It was the restaurant's first time ever participating in a festival, and according to Perjes, brand awareness was the biggest incentive for their business to be a vendor at the 2-day event. Since an estimated 45,000 were in attendance at this particular event, it's no wonder why food vendors are seeing music festivals as a prime marketing opportunity. Not only do you get to promote your culinary skills and amazing food, but you also get to earn a decent income.
However, it takes a lot of preparation to sell food and drinks at a large scale music event, so if you're thinking about doing that sometime this year, here's what you need to know to run a food stand at a music festival.
Do Your Research
Each music festival has its own vibe and target audience, so you'll need to do your research before setting up your food stand. Find out the types of food and beverage that are popular with attendees so you can plan accordingly and create a menu that would be a certified hit. If you want your food stand or food truck to stand out, make sure not to have the same type of food as other vendors For instance, if there are several vendors who are offering Mexican food like tacos or birrias, consider selling Korean bulgogi tacos or grilled Vietnamese-style chicken sandwiches.
You may also want to check if the music festival allows certain equipment for cooking food. For instance, some festivals may not permit you to bring a charcoal griller, but they will allow you to use an electric grill so attendees can stay safe while you barbeque. Make sure to get accurate information about these things for a hassle-free cooking and food selling experience.
Get Your Permit and Coordinate with Festival Organizers
Selling food at a music festival is no different from running a restaurant since you'll need to get food hygiene certificates and selling permits before starting your operation. To know what other types of documents you need for your food stall, get in touch with the music festival organizers at least six months before the festival so you can prepare accordingly.
You also need to have a meeting with the organizers to discuss fees, taxes, and to know how much is their cut from your total sales. Bonnaroo's organizers, for instance, reportedly takes a 30 percent cut from food vendors, and you'll need to pay a vendor fee of $2,700 a day. Meanwhile at Coachella, the cost for a 10 x 10 booth is around $8,000 per day, with additional costs for electricity and water. Knowing the cost of setting up a food stand allows you to plan your food pricing to ensure a good profit.
Prepare Your Menu
A music festival isn't the place to showcase an extensive menu. Trying to make too many dishes at the same time can be stressful, so pick two to three items and use quality ingredients. Choose food that can be easily eaten while on the go, and make sure to sell drinks too. Music festival attendees will get thirsty after standing under the hot sun for hours, so selling some icy cold drinks like water, soda, or fruit juice is a good strategy to increase your sales.
Set Up Your Food Stand
On the day of the festival, arrive early to set up your food stand. Make sure to bring everything you need to cook, such as a griller or a portable stove, some pots and pans, tongs, spatulas, a large cooler box to keep perishable foods in, and another cooler box for drinks. If the organizers don't provide tables and chairs, make sure to bring your own. Don't forget to add signages and decoration to make your stall look inviting. Once you start selling, keep track of your inventory so you'll know if you need to get more ingredients.
Running a food stand at a music festival can be a fun way to earn money. Try these tips if you're planning to sell food at a music event, and enjoy listening to live tunes from big name artists while manning your food business.