Why Food Festivals Are Essential For Restaurants

SHIVANGI BANSAL | 2019-01-07 18:00:00

Bollywood movies have foisted some striking images of the Indian mela in our head where travellers from across the country come to display their talent, people enjoy chaat, kulfi and buy itsy bitsy things off the stalls. Also, the footfall is so crazy that brothers get separated in the mela. Imagine getting attention from an insane number of people where you can present your food and receive instant feedback just like the old school melas, wouldn’t that be incredible? 

The old school melas have made a comeback and the millennials are calling it the “Food festival”. Food Festivals have become quite popular in India in the past few years. They offer a wide variety of food, live music, Instagram worthy decor, outdoor activities and the list is never-ending. The food festivals are trending these days and gaining popularity on social media as the foodies post their aesthetically pleasing food online which draws more people to join the army.

Restaurants should jump in and grab this opportunity while it lasts as it is a hot trend right now. It is fascinating to see how the Indian food and hospitality industry has changed in the last few years. I can’t even emphasise enough about how imperative it is to keep up with the latest trends to thrive in the market with ruthless competition. Food Festivals drive a huge amount of people which means it is a good business opportunity for the restaurants.

India has witnessed some great food festivals such as: 

1. The Gourmet High Street

2. The Street Food Festival

3. The Grub Fest Delhi

4. National Street Food Festival

5. Asian Hawkers Market

6. Great Indian Food Festival

7. Goa Food and Cultural Festival

8. Palate Fest

9. Sula Fest

10. Foodistan, 10 Heads Festival

11. Itsy Bitsy Food Festival

12. Food Truck Festivals, Across India

Grub Fest is one of the biggest food festivals in the country. It offers a food truck festival with both new and old restaurants, live music, wine tasting, cocktail mixology class and much more whereas Street Food Festival is about local street food that people love to devour. My point is that it is not necessary that people who visit the Grub Festival will also visit the other Festivals because every individual has a unique taste and preference. 

Therefore it involves a lot of planning before setting up a stall at a food festival. A restaurant needs to break down which fests to attend, what food to offer, how to promote and most importantly how to manage the operations. I know it sounds exhausting and you must be wondering if this would be a good move or not but we are right here to help you get started.

 Why are food festivals essential for restaurants?

1. Publicity


We already know that food festival is an attraction for the crowd but such an event attracts media as well. It is essential to grab this opportunity and put your name out there. Social media publicity and the press will play a huge role in it. You can trust the organizers and sponsors to publicize your restaurant in your best interest through vigorous social media campaigns. The visitors also help a great deal in promotion through their social media sites where word of mouth comes to play and their friends and family are also intrigued to try it out.  

To attract attention you are expected to provide the best service and experience with some really quirky ideas that keep the customers engrossed. Participating in such an event is an awesome way to expand your brand reach and get some media attention as well.

2. Exposure to A Diverse Audience

This is the best part of Food Festivals. Food festivals get a lot of footfall because people crave for experiences and such fests give them great food, live music, art and much more. Therefore it is the best place to leave a good impression, attract new customers and promote your loyalty program. check here for Customer loyalty Program ideas

Attracting potential customers attention depends greatly on how you present yourself in the food festival. Visitors are generally attracted towards a booth that is eye-catching, where the service is prompt and the food is excellent. If you check all these boxes then you are definitely going to get some foodies hooked to your restaurant.

3. Networking and Learning From Competition

As they say “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. It is necessary to know and observe what your competitors are currently investing their time in. It gives you an insight into what is working for them and what is not which helps you to learn and make your own strategies and avoid similar mistakes. 

If it is your first time then it would be great to take notes from established restaurants’ tactical moves as they try to put their best foot forward at such festivals. It is a good idea to invest some time in networking with the fellow restaurant owners, so keep your business cards handy. This helps in identifying new trends and even working out potential collaboration which is very healthy for the business.

4. Testing New Menus

The food festival is flooded with ardent lovers of food which makes it the best testing ground for food. You can get feedback on your new dishes as foodies with different tastes visit and give their honest and brutal opinions. This would be great for your restaurant if you’re trying to introduce new dishes to your menu or want to bring a little twist in the old ones. It gives you instant feedback on the dishes which lets you make necessary additions to the menu.

5. Personal Interaction With Customers

It’s never a bad idea to build relationships with your customers, in fact, it is one of the best things you can do for your brand. When you interact with your customers and understand their expectations they feel valued and connected with your restaurant. It also gives you an insight into their likes and dislikes so that you can plan things accordingly. Also, a personal connect gives you a chance to express yourself in the best way possible and get them acquainted with your brand and it’s unique selling point. 

6. Highlighting Your Dormant USP

People walk into bars and breweries and don’t think beyond fresh beer and cocktails. Peanuts and nachos are usually the go-to because people overlook the kickass food they have to offer. Food festivals are a good place to introduce people to the usually overlooked strengths and show them you have more to offer than the regular. If you capitalize on this I am sure you will notice an upswing in your clientele.

How to choose the festivals to participate in?

There are umpteen number of food festivals that happen all over India. It can be very confusing and tricky to decide which one to participate in. All the festivals include the usual promotional activities, special screening, live music but not all the festivals give equal opportunity to the upcoming/promising brands. Still, it is a great opportunity to learn from the established brands and how to deal with the customers. You can consider the following steps while making a decision.

1. Get the Basic Details

This is the first step to decide where you want to participate in. Get in touch with the event managers and collect details like costing, venue, space and the required supplies like tables and electricity that you expect them to provide so that you get a basic idea of the expenditure and whether it is operationally viable for your team. 

2. Research the Festivals

Each festival has something different to offer like The Gourmet High Street hosts India’s top celebrity chefs under one roof while The Street Food Festival features the famous street foods from all around the country. You will have to do your research and shortlist which festivals are apt for your brand and what restaurants were present there last year to get a clearer idea. Don’t forget to track the footfall in the previous years and it’s popularity on social media to understand if the visitors are excited to attend it or not. These are some of the important factors that you should research from your end to stand out in the festival. It is always good to do your homework, huh?

3. Connect with Other Restaurant Owners

Get in touch with the restaurant owners who have participated in these festivals the previous year because they can share first-hand experience and tips with you. It is a good idea to prepare a list of questions that you have in your mind before approaching the restaurant owners so that you don’t miss out anything. You can get insight about their experience, the profits they made or how was the customer response before making a final decision.

How To Make The Best Of The Food Festivals?

1. Select the Menu

You have to leave an impression on your potential customers so it is crucial to be selective and pick the star items from your menu. A dish can become a rage at a food festival so make sure to select the dishes that are easy to prepare in limited space, equipment and time. 

It is important for you to stand out which happens only when you have a buzz-worthy dish that sustains its quality and is selling fast. Choose a dish that is easy to cook again and again and doesn’t require you to invest too much time in it because people don’t care about the presentation in the food festivals but how does the food taste.

2. Booth Presentation

I mentioned this earlier in this blog that visitors are generally attracted towards a booth that is eye-catching, where the service is prompt and the food is excellent. In food festivals, you always get a small space in a huge arena where you can decorate your booth to attract some attention from the visitors. Selecting a theme for your restaurant and following it to decorate your space and banners can definitely attract people because it will be very aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. On the other hand, you can keep some games which help to gather people around your booth, thus making sure your sales are always rolling.

3. Staffing



You need to hire a kickass booth manager if you want your sales to keep rolling. You need someone who is energetic and on their toes all the time. Find someone who can quickly process orders, impress the customers, and generate sales at the same time. The employees need to be great sellers and should have persuading skills to make the visitors try different dishes. The better your manager is, the higher your sales can go.

4. Social Media Promotion

Food festivals are hyped a month before they take place. The organizers and sponsors publicize about the food festival vigorously through social media campaigns. It is important to take matters in your own hands and announce your presence in the festival on your social media platforms as well. You can also add your own hashtag for the same.

Generally, restaurants run contest/giveaways on their social media where they announce the winners in the fest leading the crowd there. You can also share some behind-the-scenes images to spark interest among your followers. It will be a smart move to send special invites to food and fashion bloggers so that they can promote you on their platforms as well. check here 

5. Unique Offers & Combos

Here come the fun and interesting set of the show. You can lure customers to your booth directly by announcing unique offers and combos. Provide special discounts for the first 100 customers or offer customers affordable combos to have a taste of everything you have to offer. Don’t forget to share your outlet and website details otherwise where will your customers find you again? 

6. Live Updates

This is a fun and popular trend around the block. Instagram and Facebook Live video is another cool tactic to attract attention. Share live updates from your stall and record people enjoying your food and reviewing it on camera and share it with the world to know. This helps to attract crazy social media attention.

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