The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Photo taken at VegFest in West Palm Beach, FL Jan. 2020

By Lucia Rivera, VRG Intern

Through selling vegan foods at festivals throughout the
country, young cooks share and promote vegan eating. Two of these cooks are
Anayeli Camacho and Thomas Woodruff, who, respectively, works at a vegan
restaurant and started his own vegan pop-up business.

     “I would say the
benefits of selling vegan food [in a festival setting] is you can reach more
people. People who want to live a healthier lifestyle and people who want to
help the planet,” Woodruff said.

     Additionally, for
Camacho, selling at festivals like a VegFest is a great way to gain more
exposure for the restaurant she works for, named Verdine. She also stressed the
importance of marketing the restaurant visually at the festival.

     “[Selling food at
festivals is] just about spreading your name and letting people know ‘Oh, we
have a restaurant as well and you can come check us out anytime.’ That’s why
it’s so important when we go to these events to make sure that the food is
great because [customers are] going to taste it and say ‘Wow, this is good;
where can we try more?’ Then they’re going to come to the restaurant. You’ve just
gotta make sure your voice is heard and you’re getting customers,” Camacho
said.

     In order to
receive the benefits from selling food at festivals there are several factors
that need to be executed well according to Camacho. In her experience, making a
profit has been a central goal, in addition to speed, organization, and
teamwork. Woodruff agreed that organization and teamwork were the “most
important” factors, claiming that “everything is so fast paced and if everyone
isn’t on the same page it isn’t going to be good.”

     “Especially for a
festival, teamwork is a huge thing. [Also] understanding what everybody’s role
is and understanding what everybody has to have done by the time we’re up and
running [is important]. Like if at 11 it starts, then we need to make sure that
at 11 everybody’s done what they’re supposed to be doing and we’re ready to go;
we’re ready to serve customers.”

     There are also
certain factors that are taken into account when groups choose what food to
sell. This includes planning for the respective audience and what other groups
will be selling at the festival. In the past, Anayeli has made and sold sushi
rolls, tamales, philly cheesesteaks, and cupcakes with her team. Woodruff
prefers selling desserts, and in the past has sold at the Front Street Food
Festival in Texarkana, Arkansas.

     “I think the best
items to sell at festivals are desserts. People are usually more open to trying
a dessert and if they like the dessert they usually buy a plate of food,”
Woodruff said.

     When Camacho has worked with a prep team at
festivals her process has consisted of preparing the food beforehand,
assembling her station, heating up the food, and then being ready for arriving
customers. Contrastingly, at a restaurant, a team is not focused on producing
large

amounts of one item. Necessary materials like water are also
not always as on-hand as they would be in a restaurant kitchen.

     “The packaging of
it is different because we’ve got to make sure that nobody at the restaurant
gets the food meant for the festival. Of course we label it and everything but
we’ve got to set aside that equipment and that food and that prepping,” Camacho
said. “It’s about really working

with the other prep people because it can become chaotic.
There’s people prepping for the restaurant and we’re trying to prep for the
festival, so just making sure everybody’s on the same page, everybody knows
what’s happening, [and] everybody knows what their role is.

For those that want to organize a veggie festival once the
pandemic is over, this information may be helpful: https://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/09/07/putting-on-a-vegetarian-festival-vegetarian-festivals-galore/

You can find quantity recipes here: https://www.vrg.org/fsupdate/index.htm

Here are items that Thomas Woodruff has sold: https://www.txkvegan.com/

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