Food & Drink at Events & Festivals

Dumfries & Galloway’s events and festivals season started with a bang this weekend, with a tasty array of events and activities taking place across Dumfries & Galloway, many of them with a distinctly foodie flavour.

Events and festivals, particularly during this Year of Food & Drink, offer excellent opportunities for food and drink producers to showcase their products and engage with new audiences.  However, for many producers it can be challenging to make a profit from attending a one off event. 

Here are some tips to maximise the value of attending an event or festival this year:  

  • Learn to say no.  Not every opportunity is the right opportunity for your business.  Think carefully about the logistics and cost of attending, and consider whether your products are a good fit with the attendees at an event.
  • Samples.  Always provide samples and be proactive in offering them, it’s the perfect way to engage with prospective customers. 
  • Instructive signage.  Tell people what to do and create appealing, instructive signage that encourages people to come to your stall – ‘Try this’  ‘Free samples’    
  • Connect.  Value isn’t just about sales, make a connection with people and gather data wherever you can.  Run a competition, promote your twitter handle, give out business cards or get creative – incentivise people to share a photo of their favourite product from your stall on your facebook page, the winner wins that favourite product. 
  • Incentivise.  Encourage impulse purchases with great value multi buy offers or ‘limited edition’ messaging.  Encourage repeat or follow up sales with discount coupons or vouchers.
  • Focus.  Make sure you know which products are most profitable and focus on them.  Add value and upsell them, provide recipes and focus samples around them.
  • Relevance.  Think about which products will be most relevant to the audience at each event, snack sized products for people to eat on the go, or BBQ ready meat perhaps?
  • Add value.  Don’t let practical or logistical hassles be a barrier to your customers. Offer to store their purchases till the end of the event – be helpful and anticipate your customer needs.
  • Network.  Connect with other traders who are attending to expand your business contacts.
  • Plan for the weather.  Weather conditions can dramatically affect food and drink sales.  If inclement weather is likely, plan for it.  Cold weather provides as many sales opportunities as warm weather if you can tailor your product to how people are feeling. 
  • Evaluate.  Some events will work better for your business than others.  Try to figure out why, what are the key factors that made a difference. This will be invaluable in planning which events you attend in future.