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March 22, 2017 Staff

Does Attending Craft Shows Make Sense For Your Concession Business?

Searching for new ways to increase revenue for your concession business? The often-forgotten craft show could be the answer to unlocking consistent profits in your area. In today’s post we show you where to find these craft shows and things to look for when determining whether or not you want to test these events for your existing food business. Enjoy!

food booth

Food vendors at a local craft show. Photo Credit: Pinterest

Advantages of Art Shows

From an economic standpoint, people at craft fairs are an ideal customer for a concession vendor. People that can purchase hand-made necklaces or custom paintings have expendable income. There are cheaper ways to buy similar products so being able to afford to enjoy lunch at your truck, trailer, or cart won’t be an issue from a financial perspective.

In addition to the socio-economic factors, many art shows don’t have much in terms of ready-to-eat foods. There will usually be some take-home products like jelly, honey, or beef jerky. But as far as something hot and ready to eat on-site, the options are often limited.

A lot of food truck owners have seen success by vending at well attended food truck rally’s in their area. Don’t get us wrong, these are terrific events that can attract large crowds and be extremely lucrative. But there is also something to be said of being one of maybe two dining options around lunch time. The crowds may not be as big, but if you can get a large percentage of attendees to give your food a try this can work.

Finally, art shows are usually cheap to vend at. A vendor’s fee of between $15 – $45 will apply depending on popularity. A big reason for the low-cost is that artists couldn’t afford to pay the fees if they were any higher than this. This is an advantage to you as a concession vendor because you can usually break-even after just a few sales. If you discover that an event is not profitable you can quickly move on.

Challenges of Craft Fairs

Naturally there are some hurdles to overcome within this type of event too. The first is timing. A lot of craft fairs are not held during lunch or dinner time hours when you’ll generate the most sales. If a certain craft fair only runs from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and you serve hot dogs, you may want to continue to look elsewhere.

Other craft fairs, especially those held in-doors, will have a strong self-interest to keep food vendors out. It’s no secret that selling food and beverages through a snack bar can be lucrative endeavor for the owners and management of the event. Before you pay any event fee’s, be sure to confirm with the promoter that selling ready-to-eat food is acceptable.

Where To Find Local or National Craft Shows

Ready to explore the art scene for your own business? Here are some of the best resources we know to source these events in your area:

https://www.sunshineartist.com – From their home-base in Wisconsin, this companies mission is to serve the arts and crafts industry. One of the nice features of this website is that there is a search engine that allows you to look up events by keyword and date.

http://festivalnet.com – Website with a list of 26,000+ art fairs and craft shows happening across the United States and Canada.

http://artandcrafts.com – Based out of Edgewater, Florida, this is your professional guide to art and craft shows. At the time of writing there is a fee of $49.95 per year to access the information in this guide. You can also enroll for a 10-day free trail to check out there system. This sounds like a square deal if you want to make a serious attempt at vending at these kinds of events.

http://craftshowyellowpages.com – This is the art and craft show yellow pages. You can browse descriptions of different events across all 50 states here. If you really want to take your knowledge to the next level, you can also sign up for their magazine to be shipped to your house.

http://www.craftmasternews.com – This website includes listing for art and craft shows, but also home improvement, garden shows, farmer’s markets and more!

http://www.eventlister.com – At the time of writing, this website had over 130,000 upcoming events published online. This is an enormous U.S. Searchable database for art shows. You can also shop for thousands of hand-made products from local artists online through their website.

http://www.localharvest.org – This is a website that provides farmers market listings. Not quite the same thing as a craft fair, but there is some overlap here. We were able to find dozens of markets within a 25 mile radius of us that we  never knew existed. This is a very powerful resource.

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