Burgers. Frozen custard. Gourmet coffee. Each is a niche that became a trend. No wonder smoothies won hearts (and stomachs) around the globe---they're yummy and healthy. You won't find a more all-American venue for your smoothie operation if you decide to take advantage of the growing number of festivals being staged around the country each year. Plan carefully so the treats you make produce a delicious income for you.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Vending trailer
- Licenses and permits
- Festival schedules
- Vendor applications
- Liability insurance
Perfect and test your smoothie recipes. Research flavour preferences by visiting smoothie-serving retail shops and asking counter personnel which combinations of fruits and creamy additives are popular. Compare serving sizes and pricing. Set a budget for your endeavour. Seek funding if you don't have underwriting.
Buy a vending trailer if you're serious about your enterprise. Locate a used trailer to save cash. Retrofit it with counters, and install a sink and water hookup if they are missing. Fasten cubbyholes to walls and stock them with straws, paper cups, napkins, pre-measured protein powders, vitamins, minerals, utensils, latex gloves and other necessities.
Source commercial blending and refrigeration equipment (new or used) by contacting local manufacturers and distributors, or visit the Internet to do your shopping. Compare price, quality and size to arrive at the best deals. Negotiate a volume discount if you're able to purchase several--or all--of your smoothie-making equipment from one vendor.
Draw up a festival schedule using the Internet as your guide. Focus on fairs in your region. Obtain registration/vendor packages. Decide upon the number of festivals you can afford to participate in by calculating entry fees. Apply as early as possible to the best bets to get a favourable site on the festival grounds.
Become a food safety expert. Post sanitary rules in your work area so temporary hires know what you expect. Contact your state health department for permits and licenses. Ask about temporary health permits at exhibit sites (you'll probably find this data in the exhibitor package). Don't forget a number plate for your vending trailer.
Experiment with unusual blends of juices, fruits, yoghurts, milk, ice cream, custard and flavourings and give each concoction a unique name. Commission a large permanent menu to hang on your trailer, post in a festival booth or rest on an easel.
Dress in white scrubs, chef's coats or uniform tops while serving smoothies to give your brand an extra boost. Price your smoothies so they sell. Offer "specials" to land business. Encourage festivalgoers to request special orders and always collect feedback on your service and smoothies.
Tips and warnings
- Carry your own liability insurance, even if festival organisers provide limited coverage, so you're properly protecting your name and business.
- If your festival application is refused, ask why. Rather than worry that you've made a mistake on your forms, it might just be that there's already a smoothie vendor at that site.
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