Dear sweet people,
Does nyone have, or know where I can find, some statistics on food sampling translating into actual orders?
Here is the context:
In my recent topic, I mentioned about a charity trade show that I was helping to organize, and have a booth/table to sell goodies. We've been running into a mountain of difficulties finding a venue that will accept food prepared offsite. The location close to signing (the univ where I suffered/studied for my bachelor degree) has now balked and propose that I can only sample and take orders for later delivery -- no money to be exchanged.
Keep in mind that my mom and I are hobbyist bakers, baking out of a home kitchen, and transporting all items by public transit. Also not a week goes by that some university pick-your-ethnic-group association has a fundraiser selling ethnic food dirt cheap, right on the spot.
Any thoughts, kind bakers? (other than running away screeeeeaming)
Your actual question is different from what I thought it would be from your subject line.
I was going to offer that once a bride comes in to my place for a sampling, I book over 95% of them. But I think you are asking about the ratio of giving away hundreds of samples at a show and how many bookings you get from that, am I right?
It may depend on a lot of variables .... how well advertised is the event? Is the event marketed as "free samples" or "come in and buy/order"? Who is your target market?.....open to the public and hope for some customers or a specific group of potential buyers (like a bridal show markets to brides, who are actually looking to buy from wedding vendors).
DOes the event have to be held at this university? I can imagine you have buildings in park systems, large church family/rec centers, Lions Club or Kiwanis facilities, where wedding receptions and other celebrations are held all the time with outside foods that are brought in.
But I think you are asking about the ratio of giving away hundreds of samples at a show and how many bookings you get from that, am I right?
Yes that is correct.
>It may depend on a lot of variables .... how well advertised is the >event?
Since I'm in charge of publicity, I guess as much as I can get for free Community events on TV, radio, Internet, etc. It's being set up as a Meetup event, so all the emails that go out from Meetup.com. I was using thier postcard template to make flyers to hand out at other meetups or word of mouth.
This is our first show so it's difficult to judge attendance. But I know that in this university building, there are a lot of staff as well as students, you could have hundreds of people streaming through.
> Is the event marketed as "free samples" or "come in and buy/order"?
It's being envisioned as a trade show, free admission, where a portion of the booth rental goes to charity. How each business markets itself is up to them. Other businesses that have committed: financial services (mutual funds) and hairdresser/cosmetics.
What Mom and I wanted to do was sell cupcakes, cookies, muffins, small cakes and loaves, maybe some fudge or truffles -- impulse items to grab and go, plus show some fancier things (take a dummy or two) and pre-order for Christmas cookie tins. We have experience doing the church bazaar [we don't go to that church anymore]. Our initial problem was that Mom doubts we could sell enough to cover the table rental fee. Now if we are forced to sample and not sell anything, we will be in the red for sure. We have no Halloween orders as it is!
> Who is your target market?.....open to the public and hope for some
> customers or a specific group of potential buyers
business people and general public
>DOes the event have to be held at this university?
We have inquired at hotels and were told that we can't have any food unless it is prepared and served by the employees of the hotel. Something about the labor union, and all hotels in the city belong to this union, as does a major small convention center. The two big convention centers, who take in food things all the time, are waaay out of our budget.
A museum rents itself out for events -- then charges for every table, chair, tablecloth, minimum required security, etc etc etc. Oh and have a cc on hand day of, just in case. Says so right on thier website. yikes!
The only reception hall (like for wedding dinners) that called me back quoted a price per hour -- for an empty room! Every darn thing is charged extra. And the main organizer does not want to go out of downtown.
Church bazaars and similar either do not rent out their tables to outsiders, have a looong waiting list, or are located too far away to get to easily.
Oh i'm soo discouraged
Wow, do I feel like no help at all! you've done your legwork on this thing all right!
Are corporate sponsors an option to help pay for the hourly rate(s) for those other facilities? They pay the rent on the building in exchange for lots of banners and publicity?