It’s almost that time of year again – farmer’s market season! Locally, our summer farmer’s market starts only a couple months away. I’m incredibly excited. There are over 90 vendors with everything from produce, to jam, wooden crafts, bbq sandwiches and egg rolls. And always a ton of new vendors each season, too.
While things are going to continue being a bit different this year than usual, I’m still hopeful we’ll be seeing a strong crowd turnout at the local market. Be sure to support your local farmer’s markets as well!
If you’re a new to the food truck or concession trailer game, creating a display can be tough. You don’t quite know how your display is going to look compared to other vendors, and you want to sell as much product as possible, right? That’s where my number one tip comes in that is usually overlooked: height.
Use height to make your booth inviting
Of the thousands of farmer’s market booths I’ve seen, display height has always made a difference in which booths I walk into. They’re store-like – with shelves, tons of product, and they’re clean.
Think of your booth or concession spot as a grocery store – a 10×10 shopping paradise. Walk into a grocery store in your area and you’ll notice different heights all lover the place – from traditional shelving, to produce displays, and decorated end-caps (the ends of the aisle).
Incorporating height into your display
The best way is with a shelving unit. We’ve either hand-built ours with scrap wood in the garage or you can pick up metal shelving like this one from Office Depot. It’s super easy to put together, throw in your car, and you’re off. The shelves are adjustable to fit small 4oz jars or bottles of salad dressing.
For a first shot at a great booth, this metal shelve will be just fine. Use the front part of the shelf to advertise pricing and market specials.
Observe your customers
Watch how customers shop your shelves and adjust accordingly. For example, one of our shelves has six facings of product – three of each of our most popular flavors. And we have an entire shelf devoted to limited edition products.
I can guarantee customers stop just because of the height of your display. If you have a smaller table with one level of product, it’s hard to tell from the distance what you’ve got so raise it up!
Four Bonus Tips for a Great Farmer’s Market Display
1. Get Signage
Banners are your best friend. They’re often under $100 and easily communicate your company name, location, and what you’re selling. Looking for a source? I get mine from Design to Print. This type of signage can be placed on top of your concession unit and quickly taken down at the end of the day.
The only hesitation with this type of sign is when you vend in a windy area like a big open field. If the wind picks up too much you could end up chasing down the sign. This is not the type of unexpected workout you want while serving a long-line hungry customers.
2. Brand Your Booth
You’ve got company colors, right? Consistent branding is key for a farmer’s market is important because it makes your company recognizable to repeat customers or locals who have seen your brand on store shelves. From coordinating banners, to tablecloths, and fonts, make everything relate back to your brand.
The fact is most vendors aren’t going to be thinking about the little details like this. A little bit of foresight and planning can go along way to standing out from the less professional vendors.
3. Keep Shelves Stocked
Over-flowing buckets and fully-stocked shelves are a sign that you’ve got what your customers need. In other word’s “there’s plenty more where that came from.” It eases the customer’s mind and looks more professional.
If you’re operating a concession trailer this same principle holds true. If you use colorful fruits or vegetables to make your food make sure they are visible and attractively positioned near a window where customers can see them. If you serve hand-cut french fries at your concession trailer, make sure the customers can see the stacked bags of fresh spuds.
4. Make Yourself Presentable
As much as you would love to ignore what you look like behind your table, it makes a huge difference. Would you approach a vendor who is slumped over their product and texting or would you rather approach someone who’s smiling and ready to talk with you about their product? Probably the later. You are as much a part of the display as your product is.
5. Put on a show
Don’t forget to make your food truck fun. This is not some stuffy corporate work environment. By brining the fun you’ll attract more people over your unit. One way to do it is by putting on a show.
This show doesn’t need to be complex. If you’re a ribbon fry truck, you can give folks a behind the scenes look into how the fries are chopped. If you own a smoothie trailer, allow them to see the fruit and vegetables being all mixed up and chopped. In addition to providing entertainment, it gives guests more confidence in the cleanliness and quality of their food. You’re revealing each step in the cooking process.
Farmer’s markets are a great way to get your product out to the masses and increase your direct sales as a vendor. But, you have to take them seriously and figure out how you’ll stand out. Like store demos on steroids a vending at a farmer’s market must be treated as such. Good luck this selling season and let me know if you have any tips for farmer’s market newbies in the comment section below.