Are Food Festivals Worth It?
For many parts of the country, food festivals are in full swing this time of year. We've most likely had a taste or two at several, but what do those on the other side of the booth think? This week, Valley chefs and restaurateurs weigh in on whether these food-centric events are worth the effort.
YES: Totally worth it for the customers and sometimes worth it for us chefs. When we participate, which we are doing less and less of unless they are charity driven, I like to do a demo or participate in some way other then being a faceless booth handing out tasting size portions of food. It's important to stand out and make a lasting impression at these events, otherwise you're just one of 30 places that will be forgotten.
NO: They happen during the busiest times in our restaurants and conflict with us trying to serve our existing customers. We serve common food done uncommonly well and the point of many food festivals is to serve items designed to wow you, even if they are not on the regular menu. Furthermore, all of our restaurants are a tight integration of food and place, which is hard to convey from a table under a tent.
YES: Food Festivals are a great way for the food and beverage community to showcase all that we have to offer as a city while benefiting an organization at the same time. We love going out and supporting our communities and our staff loves to be there, too. I do feel that some events are more successful than others and I think they're a lot more work than most people realize.
YES: Food festivals bring together like-minded chefs and guests. It builds camaraderie within the culinary community. We look forward to those few times a year that we can pool our resources together to achieve a common charitable goal.
NO: Restaurants go to extreme lengths to showcase their signature dishes. Most times they do not translate well. Some of them I really enjoy and the food offerings make a lot of sense: taco, BBQ, etc. As an operator of an unique menu restaurant, the downside is much greater than any goodwill benefits.