How to be a Vendor at a Festival

/ Food Trucks & Pop-Up Restaurants, Foodservice Tips / June 24

vendors at a fair

With nice weather comes great opportunities to get your name, and food, out there. There’s a wide variety of festivals and fairs that you can be a part of to expand your customer base. Learn how to be a vendor at a festival so you can get your business rolling this summer.

Do Your Research

Once you find a festival you want to be a part of, apply early. Find out who’s is charge and get your application in. This may require a down payment to reserve your spot so be prepared. It’s also recommended you check out the vendors from the previous years. Get in touch with them and ask them about their experiences.

Iron Out the Legal Paperwork

As mentioned above, applying early is key to getting your spot reserved. However, you want to get your legal paperwork filed first. First you’ll need to find out which permits you’ll need to sell your goods as well as to purchase vendor insurance. You can typically find the information you’ll need under the festival’s FAQ section on their website.

Transportation & Kitchen Needs

If you don’t already have one, look into an appropriately sized work truck. As a food vendor, you’re responsible for transporting your food, beverages, supplies and more. If you have a full-time food vending business, then a kitchen equipped food truck is crucial.

person grabbing food from fair

Make a List

Keep in mind all of the food you’ll be serving. What will you need? Aside from the ingredients and napkins, you’ll need take-out containers, plastic silverware and more. You want to make sure your food and drinks will be easily portable since there may not be a lot of extra seating for your customers to sit down and enjoy.

Also keep in mind what you’ll need to keep your inventory cool or warm. Look into thermal bags or plastic coolers to keep your prepared foods at the proper temperature. You want to safely store your foods.

Think About Payment

Consider how your customers can pay for your goods. Many vendors are cash only, but there are options for customers that don’t carry cash on them. Invest in a card reader. Some charge a small fee per transaction, but in the end, you can get more customers coming to your truck without having to stop at an atm. Learn more about Square or PayPal options to choose the one that’s right for you and your business needs.

Advertising & Getting Your Name Out There

Once your application is accepted, you can start advertising. One of the biggest ways to make it known where you’ll be vending is on your social media accounts. Repost news about the upcoming festival, post previews of what you plan on serving and use any hashtags that the festival provides to make it easier to follow updates.

When the time comes to open up shop, make sure you work with the festival’s vendor guidelines and use some bright colors and lights to set yourself apart from the rest. Maybe even consider giving out free samples as well as business cards so customers remember your name.

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