We survived our first music festival last weekend, and came away from Summer Sundae bruised (I walked into the hand sink) and tired, but otherwise still standing. Despite what was arguably a terrible, terrible pitch we managed to scrape together a little profit, a massive great big pot of experience and loads of new people who have now tried Jabberwocky delicacies.
In case it helps anyone in the future, I will tell you our observations regarding what makes a good hot food concession pitch. You very rarely have any choice in the matter, but it helps to be able to spot the good ones from the bad, and there does appear to be something of a science to it.
Corners are important. You can be in a corner, or you can be on a corner. In a corner means that people have to go all the way over to you, which they probably won’t. On a corner means that your custom will have to walk all the way round you to get to places, and will be eyeing your menu all the way.
Thoroughfares are important too. The main thoroughfare with all the interesting stalls on will prompt people to saunter, looking around and reading your menu, close enough to be able to strike up a conversation. The thoroughfare to the campsite, exit or toilets will mean people don’t even look at you, fearful of having to have a conversation while they are concentrating on getting to the loos without accidentally peeing on your tent.
The view is important. If you’re looking out over the main arena then not only are the people-watching opportunities abundant, you can also be seen by all of these people. If you’re facing the back of a tent then, unsurprisingly, they can’t.
The End is important. If you are on the end which just happens to be right next to the main stage then everyone can see you, all the time. If you are on the end by the toilets then no one will see you much at all.
To summarize: “That’s a great pitch in the corner by the toilets round the back of the craft tent right on the end”, said no one, ever.
That was roughly where we were, but despite that, we still made a small profit. Not one that especially justified four days off the day job and a small bruise to the lower back, but one that will undoubtedly see us through to the Oxford Food Festival this weekend. It also saw the birth of one of the greatest creations know to toastie coinisseurs: The Epic toastie. To make this jumbo toastie you take two regular toasties and retoast them with extra cheese. It makes for a truly man-size snack, plus it can be easily eaten, as unlike the giant burger, it is conveniently pressed to at suitably edible height.
We have since called up the Oxford festival to make sure our pitch is none of the above, and will be rocking up bright and early on Saturday morning safe in the knowledge that our tent won’t get peed on this week.