FRIDAYS AT FOUR Volume 9 Issue Thirteen

November 5, 2012

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Volume 9 Issue Thirteen
November 2012
GF Strategies President Greg Flakus
Post IAFE Issue

So first part of the month finds us at the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita and the end of the month finds us at the IAFE meetings in Las Vegas. Here are some of the key highlights from the sessions we attended..

  • Credit card acceptance at events. Most doing some of that at their ticket gates. There is concern about some of the fees for taking cards. Some Fairs are offering a cash discount, and passing along the fees to customers who choose to use credit cards. One concern was the cell phone coverage issue. One fair mentioned they have a dedicated fiber line just for handling transactions, and the importance of not having access to wifi from all of your vendors on the credit card sales line. Some mentioned that in busy times credit cards slow business. Seems to me that your fast food locations have had no issue with accepting credit cards., so why is it likely to slow down business? Mention of how large volume fairs should seek to bring in what are called temporary COWs to manage the volume (Cellular on Wheels).
  • Food Trucks at Fairs. It was discussed on how this new trend of food trucks can enhance the Fair food experience. One panelist said that you can not just plug these in between your existing vendors. You need to have a dedicated area apart from your traditional food trailers. These units now have followers who will seek them out when they are at a Fair or Festival. The trucks that are emerging are not just French fry or taco trucks, these are high end operators with a major investment in their trucks. Many of thest trucks already have very strong social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Some Fairs have gone to having them on site for a weekend only or for one day with success, that did not impact the vendors who are there for the entire run of the Fair. Also out of this session came the idea of having celebrity chefs attend the fair and have a chefs demo day.
  • Keynote address by JR Martinez had some really emotional messages from this Dancing with the Stars winner and former combat armu vet who was in the hospital having to reconstruct his face after 45 percent of his body suffered burn damage in Afghanistan. His message is that we have to adapt and overcome. What really defines us is who we are as a person and the choices we make to get out of our comfort zones. WE bring an attitude every day and we make the choice on positive or negative. WE have to be able to bend, and be sure to put some energy into the reserve tank to get to the next refuel stop. And those we meet can help us with that reserve tank until we get to the stop.
  • The discussion on Social Media and Sponsorship-ownership and online values concluded that noone has figured out how to monetize and get extra monies from the social media apps that are built. It was shared that the key is to decide if you are in, you are all in, not just halfway. The successful Fair dedicate a social media person to work as part of staff during Fair. Most have not figured out how to charge sponsors for any added income for number of page views, number of hits and other measurements.One beer vendor who has the microbrew area at the Wisconsin State Fair has dedicated a person to his social media, as that is proving to be something he has to have to share the latest hot beers on tap and newest offerings. Also, if you are  doing contests, most stated it is best to have an outside firm manage those contests for you. Some Fair are using text to win to capture contacts and market to those who are interested in the Fair and other off-Fair events.

Other news from our readings since our last issue—

  • Aging baby boomers are digging into a growing share of restaurant meals. According to a study by NPD Group, the share of restaurant visits by older groups are increasing. Per capita restaurant visits by those 48 and up average 210 per year versus 207 times for 18-to 498 down from 240 in 2008.  –Wall Street Journal
  • ConAgra foods has purchase Ralcorp Holdings. This will make ConAgra the largest private label food manufacture in the United States. IN fact private label consumption of brands is at 29 percent of total grocery purchases. Profit margins for private label are ten to fifteen percent higher than sales of national brands.—Wall Street Journal.
  • A new emerging expert in the world or bars is emerging called the Cicerone. This is a sommelier, only for beers, not wines.Russell Gardner serves this role for the Public House at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. IN fact sales of craft beers surged 14 percent in the first six months of 2012, and the number of US Breweries hit a 125 year high of 2,126. So far there are 18,000 certified Cicerones. Master Cicerones are a level above that. In the US there are four master cicerones.—Wall Street Journal
  • A service that is emerging in the social media world is called Klout. Klout measures the social influence of people,groups and brands based on their activity and audience on social networks. The company weighs more than 400 data points. –Business Week
  • Wallaby Financial smart credit card stores data for all of your accounts and allows you to use one card for all purchases,managing all your reward points and advises you on the greatest benefits possible—Wired
  • At the IAFE trade show we found two booths with interesting products among the was Flavorous, a new firm that provides ticketing on the go, can choose paper, print at home, mobile, magnetic cards with admission on the card, and RFID (radio frequency ID). One of the only ones we have seen that can play on all four of these areas. Another booth  Equity Commercewas offering new solutions to the back end processing and showing off mini-routers that allow a vendor stand to have a dedicated card processing line just for their stand and not be concerned about all of the other internet and wifi traffic at events. More on these two firms in our next issue.

WE leave you with this quote from a good book we also suggest by Guy Kawasaki Enchantment: “Every sale has five obstacles:no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust. –Zig Ziglar

Look for our next issue in mid-December that will highlight some of the key things we covered in 2012.

Greg Flakus*** GF Strategies**

Food Service Planning for Profit for twenty years

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