How to Become a Successful Food Stand Vendor

Published: 05th July 2010
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Looking for a fun seasonal job that lets you be your own boss? There are so many opportunities available for you to set up your own shaved ice stand at locations and events like a local flea market, festivals, craft shows, bazaars, sporting events and more.

In order to set up and maintain a successful shaved ice stand, you will need to create a unique food display that attracts attention from both children and adults. You will also need to search out and acquire the proper equipment, such as a shaved ice machine, paper cups, spoon straws, napkins and a variety of flavors to pour over the ice. Anyone interested in selling food in their area will need to learn about the local laws of handling and selling food. You will also need to apply to many different festivals and events in order to become a food vendor. The following tips are a good place to start your own small vending business.

The first step to getting your shaved ice stand off the ground - perhaps the most difficult step of all - is to convince the people in charge of festivals and other events that you should be vending your food at their event. One thing you can do to ensure your place among the food vendors is to make your food unique from the other vendors. Find something special to do with your shaved ice that nobody else does.

Being able to pitch your vendor ideas to a festival organization is important and could mean the difference between getting your shaved ice stand off the ground and running properly or having to scrap the idea altogether. Rent or create a shaved ice stand that will attract attention. Wear attractive uniforms, hats, nametags, etc. Make your shaved ice stand as colorful and attractive as possible without being obnoxious. Also, avoid using music or loud noises, as this will only turn customers away from your vending stand.

Research the different festivals, fairs and sporting events you want to sell your food at so you know what kind of paperwork you will need. Some events will require you to have a special license for vending food, which would involve a fee on your part. Make sure you have all the right documentation before pitching your shaved ice to an organization. Also, check up on the insurance qualifications. Does the festival or fair organization cover vendor insurance or will you need to purchase your own insurance? Some other questions you will want to ask include information about electricity availability, garbage disposal, water availability, etc. Every event and location will be different, so ask all the right questions up front to save time and money in the future.

When you apply to set up your food stand at an event, the organizer will take into consideration your food selection, any references you have, and the set up of your shaved ice stand. If you have never set up your stand at an event before, set it up in your backyard and take some pictures to include in your application. References that come directly from someone in the restaurant industry is a big plus. The earlier you apply to a festival the better. Regular food vendors tend to book spots in a festival or fair up to a year in advance. If you want to compete with the people who have been doing this for years, you need to apply early with a killer application. One small tip is to always emphasis how important cleanliness and sanitation is to you and your vending business.

Beginners may have a hard time getting a spot in festivals, fairs or sporting events at first, but the longer you stick with it the most positive your results will become. The more experience you gain, the bigger your venues will get. Every time you get turned down, find out why so you can improve on that the next time you apply. Do not give up, no matter how many time you get turned down. Eventually, your name will become more popular in the food vending industry and you will gain more opportunities to set up your shaved ice stand.

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