Outdoor event selling

Joined Aug 11, 2000
For the first time...(except for omelets at the market) I'm going to rent a food booth at an /Earthday celebration and sell food!!!
5000+ people went through last year and it was not a pretty day.
Outside, 10x10' booth. They will give anyone who signs up exclusivity on the product they are selling. ie only one kettle korn guy.
So, still working on the product but thinking seriously of grilling.
grilled veg kabobs on a stick....no container just veg and a stick
portabello shroom sandwich (nothing that would go bad on it.)
Possibly lamb brats or kabob
possibly local chevre in fillo cups,local bean shtuff or olive goo
btl water.

There are only 10 slots....it's an all day gig....I wanna say 10-6
a higher percentage of vegetarians but I'd say 20-25% would be a high guesstimate. This is a huge ecological community event on it's 10th year or so.

Now the questions....since I don't have a restaurant to absorb extreme overage I'm trying to work on amounts and how far to prep.....
thought process....If I get 4 staff, 2 cooking, 1 selling, one serving
the back guy on the grill can do some prep.
The veg kabobs will sell at the lower price point I'll put on it.....
so I think 500 is not out landish. Peppers, squash, possibly sweet potato blanched, onion, ???
The portobellos can be stemmed to a point and the remaining cases of untouched ones sold at a good price to friends with restaurants. Bread...oh man....if I served on a 1# bagette then any leftover can be made into crisps. Buns in my mind are harder to recycle, though I've got a super Naan that I adore(bought)
Red pepper sauce? I'd really like to not do mayo or anything that can go south quickly. What kinda toppings have you seen in outdoor sandwiches?
So that is my latest party....I think it will be fun and hopefully lucrative.
*** I have NEVER made money on a beverage booth, REALLY lame I know but after several tries I am only going for btl water.
Joined Sep 21, 2001
Personally. I swore off of vending a few years ago. Too risky. I have gotten spoiled catering and getting used to the more "sure thing". But I have done my share.
First, try to keep the number of items you need to prep to a minimum and use as many of the same ingredients in different forms as possible. Then have a plan for the leftovers, which you seem to have. I am fortunate enough to be able to to use my leftover veggies etc. for soups. And there are many non refrigerated sauces that come to mind- like your roasted veggie and garlic sauce in olive oil. Or a tahini-based or miso- based sauce for the kabobs. Or peanut butter for that matter. On my hot sandwiches at the restaurant I make a mix of julienned mushrooms, onions and bell peppers which I saute up and then dress with a basil vinegrette. They can be prepped as early as the day before and get better as they sit. They would work equally well on cold sandwiches or hot ones. You will have to have some sort of cooling- be it iced bus tubs for some of your cold line stuff and iced coolers for raw meats. When I am feed a number of people who are vegetarian, I tend to lean toward vegan, just to cover more bases.
Another thought on running a booth. It is really a fast-food place, so remember that when you are putting your systems and line together. You don't need a lot of items- only a couple of items done really well. Look for potential bottlenecks before they happen. You need to think about how many SECONDS it takes in each area and get a good idea of how long it takes and how many you can produce. It really sucks to have 5000 people and have the food dragging to get out. Veggie kabobs can be partially grilled and finished to order quickly by brushing with a thin marinade and throwing them back on a very hot grill. My thought on meats would be something that could be served rare, like lamb or ahi , instead of reheated because people expect it cooked through (like a brat). The LAST thing you want is to deal with undercooked meat with a line of people waiting.
Joined Feb 7, 2003
I have had the opportunity and enjoyment of selling food at an event........eventhough it can be a "captive" audience........here are my suggestions that might help you........food that can be served instantly and not hard to walk around with are two very important things to remember(if people think it is too hard to handle they tend to shy away from it). The vegetable kabobs is a nice idea....maybe in a pita.....because of the nature of your event(earth day) you probably are correct by staying more with the vegan food........falafel's would work....and hold nicely(chafing dish) depending on the temperature a vegetarian chili or stew(instant service...minimal labor) I agree that two or three items done well will serve you best.......how about a vegetarian spring roll(peanut sauce).....I serve vietnamese spring rolls at many catering jobs.....inexpensive(labor intensive though)food cost.
A curried vegetable medley in filo cups is easy and fast and customer friendly........
I really believe that if you try to make it easier for the customers,
you will be farther ahead........something hot or cold.....if it is hot you could do fruit kabobs instead...with honey poppy seed dressing.
You could serve a cooked medley of mushrooms or a stuffed mushroom........hot or cold.......try mushrooms with boursin piped in them and baked for 5 to 7minutes.....

Good Luck.........

Joined Nov 20, 2000
From the "for what it's worth department". During my time in Alaska I participated every year in the Girdwood Forest Fair. A weekend event, in the woods rain, snow or shine (usually cold rain!) Every year across from us was a women who spent the summers traveling to different fairs, selling her product and living off the proceeds the rest of the year. So what was this amazing product that had people lined up day in and day out every time every year?
Hand dipped Ice Cream bars. Yep! She bought vanilla ice cream bars, not unlike Good Humor or Dove bars. She would dip them in melted coating chocolate to order and dip in sprinkles or nuts as desired. The set up was easy, the amount of products minimal. Product loss zero. She mad a killing every time. Something to think about. I did my booth and sold handmade chocolates and candies for the kids and always sold out as well.
Good luck
Joined Aug 11, 2000
this is the end of April.....I'm really thinking out the cost of equipment rental and staff to grill. LOve the ice cream....I wonder what kind of unit I'd need to keep it frozen. I could see juice bars too....easy breezy. but since this is essentially not a regular gig, I don't want alot of stock left over, and I can't imagine the co. letting me return unused product.

Great ideas on the marinades and sauces thanks. Hummos and pita chips....hmmmm think think think...naw go to sleep.
Joined Jan 23, 2002
I just picked up a bag of frozen potato sticks in regular, purple and sweet potato from the Whole Foods Market. I'm going to fry them up and serve them in a paper cone to carry around. Could work for you?
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Yep and I think we discussed french fries at length on another thread....there is always a line for those guys....
I've used the multi tatos from Whole foods....Fryer oh man....
my coop sells them for $1.73 # so how many oz is a serving of fries?
Edamames are so popular but where would they put the husks/pods/whatever? alittle wasabi soy sauce....that would need no frying and is a great snack food. cute in a tiny chinese go container.
Joined Jan 23, 2002
Hi Schroom,

Love the edamame idea in little to go boxes, but they also sell them shelled and it doesn't matter if they get cold. They're just as good either way. Have a bowl of corse salt on the side for them to sprinkle.

Yeah, I know, frying can be a pain....
Joined Jul 18, 2002
My chinese supermarket sells a dynamite dish of cubed smoked tofu, edame beans (shelled of course) and mustard greens with a bit of chili oil perhaps. It's great cold and I am going to use the idea for a huge vegan box lunch gig I have in May.

Latest posts

Top Bottom