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Always know your break-even point......

by Claire Martinsen on Tue 06th Nov 2012 02:10

I do quite a few food festivals through the year with Breckland Orchard , as well as the local county shows [Norfolk and Suffolk Shows].

There are LOTS of events, markets, shows, festivals etc out there and the trend seems to be growing.  My inbox is always scattered with emails from event companies selling ‘space’ at these events, and likewise the post and telephone brings more of these.

My single biggest bit of advice is to know your break-even point.   This will allow you to evaluate whether you are likely to have a successful show.

Some of the elements to consider are:

  • cost of samples [eg sampling spoons, sampling cups, sampling jars etc]
  • cost of travel
  • cost of the actual stand
  • cost of staff
  • cost of possible wastage
  • cost of accommodation [if required]
  • margin on the products you are planning to sell
  • Plus any other costs relevant to your product [eg electricity, gas]

When you’ve worked out your costs you should be able estimate how much you need to take at the event just to break even.  And that will allow you to make a considered decision about whether you want to go ahead and book or not.

At the end of the day, whether an event will be a success or not is an equation between the cost of the stand and the amount of money that you take on the day.  If either of these tip out of kilter then you run the risk of coming home not even having broken even – and that’s a sad situation to be in for anyone.

It may be a really quiet show, but you sell out of everything!  It could be a really busy show but you sell very little.  Crowd numbers alone are not any kind of guarantee at all.  All event organisers will try to major on the number of visitors that they expect.

Likewise it could be the best event in the world, but if the heavens open then it could turn into a disaster [we had plenty of rained off events Summer 2012]. Keep an open mind…..things could and do change and that’s the great thing about food festivals.

But knowing your break even point will give you a good steer!


Posted in: Food Festivals and Shows Tips for running a food business


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