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How much coffee for 150,000 people?

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Hi, I’m setting up a small roasting business and I’ve an opportunity to tender for a stall at a festival later in the year. Before I put a bid in, it would be useful to have some rough indication about what sort of sales to expect. The festival lasts eight days, is attended by around 150,000 people. I intend to sell decent coffee, Brownies, Flapjacks etc. There will probably be six coffee outlets on the site.

 

Any advice would be most welcome!

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Rather unhelpfully I find that it massively varies for each event but I haven't done something that big. @Scotford or @jeebsy do you have any sage advice? @WEJ do you already run a coffee stall and you're adding roasting or both starting up together?


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You whole model has to be based purely on what you can produce and sell on the day. If you can serve a coffee every 2 minutes per server, say, then it shouldn’t be hard to work out your sales, then profit and thus a figure you would be prepared to pay for the stand.


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You whole model has to be based purely on what you can produce and sell on the day. If you can serve a coffee every 2 minutes per server, say, then it shouldn’t be hard to work out your sales, then profit and thus a figure you would be prepared to pay for the stand.

 

That works if you are then flat out for the whole event? Otherwise it's nice to know what the max figures might be but it's pretty unlikely that's what you'll do? So you have to decide, how much quieter will I be than my max and you're wandering towards guessing again really.


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I imagine for such a big event a huge amount could depend on where you're located as well - it's a real PITA :-)


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I intend to sell decent coffee....

 

I'd aim for excellent coffee, personally.


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If you were to use MilredM's suggested model at least you won't find yourself in a place where you cannot meet demand and you could possibly sell the excess afterwards to forum members assuming that you aren't left with too much.

 

Recently Jeebsy has enabled this for a couple of his friends who have offered, coffee they had left over from events, at a reduced price here.


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Thanks @jlarkin. I'm starting both together, with the emphasis mostly on the roasting side.

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[quote name='MildredM']You whole model has to be based purely on what you can produce and sell on the day. If you can serve a coffee every 2 minutes per server, say, then it shouldn’t be hard to work out your sales, then profit and thus a figure you would be prepared to pay for the stand.[/QUOTE] Thanks @MildredM That makes sense, but I also need to model my ability to produce coffee based on the potential number of customers?

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I imagine for such a big event a huge amount could depend on where you're located as well - it's a real PITA :-)
Absolutely, I've worked with the organizers for years in another capacity, they're usually pretty accommodating, to a point!

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Thanks @jlarkin. I'm starting both together, with the emphasis mostly on the roasting side.

 

When is the event, do you have much experience of roasting beans or running a coffee stall or is this a completely new venture? If it's completely new I would proceed with caution with booking an event until you know you can roast to a high enough quality or you'll risk ruining the opportunity.

 

"Thanks @MildredM That makes sense, but I also need to model my ability to produce coffee based on the potential number of customers?"

I cannot imagine how you'll be able to estimate customer numbers accurately as there are too many variables.


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That works if you are then flat out for the whole event? Otherwise it's nice to know what the max figures might be but it's pretty unlikely that's what you'll do? So you have to decide, how much quieter will I be than my max and you're wandering towards guessing again really.

 

I expect that’s where experience of events and your output comes in ;) He can’t sell more than he’s capable of serving, so that sets the maximum amount (obvs) and as for minimum, we’ll that only comes with gaining event experience, to a degree. Then from there you just need to decide a figure you’d be happy to tender . . .


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When is the event, do you have much experience of roasting beans or running a coffee stall or is this a completely new venture? If it's completely new I would proceed with caution with booking an event until you know you can roast to a high enough quality or you'll risk ruining the opportunity.

 

"Thanks @MildredM That makes sense, but I also need to model my ability to produce coffee based on the potential number of customers?"

I cannot imagine how you'll be able to estimate customer numbers accurately as there are too many variables.

I’ve been roasting coffee on a small scale for a while, and by this event will have experience of running coffee stalls. Not expecting an accurate number of customers, just a ballpark. I.e for every 10 peolple that spend the day there between x and y will typically buy a coffee (or tea, hot chocolate......)

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Posted (edited)
I’ve been roasting coffee on a small scale for a while, and by this event will have experience of running coffee stalls. Not expecting an accurate number of customers, just a ballpark. I.e for every 10 peolple that spend the day there between x and y will typically buy a coffee (or tea, hot chocolate......)

 

My sense is that you will only have that data after the event,.....

 

If the weather is cold, you are the only one that's selling coffee, your stall looks really inviting, you're right where people are when they are looking for refreshments, your coffee tastes great and is priced right and the demographic of the event visitors fits with coffee drinking then you'll sell to a much higher proportion than if it's roasting hot and your next to an ice cream van and Mr Slush Puppy himself then you'll probably not sell many....

 

If it were me and I had the requisite experience (I don't) then I would be looking at using Mildreds model and taking the hit or selling the excess if I didn't sell all I had with me. It's a bit tricky if you're roasting the coffee yourself as you'll need to take a view a few weeks in advance to allow it time to rest before you serve it, however, if you were to buy roasted beans elsewhere in bulk you could probably do that fairly close to the event and that may give you more comfort financially?

 

Good luck whatever you decide to do, If you go ahead please let us know how you get on as it will be interesting and probably helpful information for someone else.

 

Do you currently sell the coffee you roast?

Edited by GerryM

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I’ve been roasting coffee on a small scale for a while, and by this event will have experience of running coffee stalls. Not expecting an accurate number of customers, just a ballpark. I.e for every 10 peolple that spend the day there between x and y will typically buy a coffee (or tea, hot chocolate......)

 

A quick Google came up with this which may be of some help.

 

It was an eye opener to see how much food type pitches cost at the big festivals - £20-35k!!!


2019 L-R with hand turned Thuya burr handles and toggles / Monolith Titan Flat & Conical / HG-1 / Kalita wave / Stag kettle / OCD / Joey Skateboard Handle Pullman Big Step & matching stirrer tool / Wenge Handle Lev Tamp / Push Tamper / Puqpress / 15g & 18g vst / IMS 35μM / LDT / Barista Gear Titanium 340ml pitchers / LW Bean Cellars & Caddy / Decent thermometer / Acme Evo 150ml cups / Espazzola / Hottop / embroidered by me bar towels / in the cellars: North Star, Foundry, The Barn, HasBean, Coffee Compass / part-time LSOL participant / 6 gorgeous guineas / a dog / a very lovely husband / and a large array of coffee towels!

a>

 

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From previous experience, I think Mildred's model is a sensible one to use in order to come up with a maximum your stand can physically produce as there is no point gearing up to sell more than is feasibly possible. How many people will be running your stand? (and can you get extras if needed?) If you underestimate - can you bring in extra supplies at short-notice? Is this a new event or one that is well established? Are the other coffee outlets new or are they likely to have a loyal following from previous years? As GerryM has said, you probably wont know demand until you are actually underway! [it will also be a good idea to have a plan B in case you find the you have wildly under or over estimated your sales!]

 

It would be awesome if you could share your experiences with this venture :good:


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[quote name='MildredM']A quick Google came up with [URL="https://www.ncass.org.uk/mobile-catering-home/content/get-profitable/rules-for-tendering-at-shows-events"]this[/URL] which may be of some help. It was an eye opener to see how much food type pitches cost at the big festivals - £20-35k!!![/QUOTE] That’s really interesting @MildredM Thanks!

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Right.

 

So basically your only limit is how much coffee you can actually make. If you have 3 groups running full tilt, you can realistically do about 140-160 shots an hour (depending on your equipment, obviously). I'd use this as a basis that you can scale up from.

 

Guesstimation time:

 

1x 3 group espresso only setup pulling 'trad' shots pf 18-36-30sec etc.

 

Say 150 coffees an hour peak and half that off-peak.

6 hours of peak trading a day

4 of off-peak trading a day.

= 1200 shots per day

 

50 shots per kg of coffee @ 18g (~1g)

24kg per day

8 days trading

 

This gives you roughly 192kg coffee and about 9600 shots over 8 days. Not a huge jump above the average very high volume cafe. There are a couple of coffee shops in london that do around that kind of volume 5 days a week.

 

 

NOW. If it were me:

 

I wouldn't be thinking that i am catering to 150k people. I would take a look at how much coffee i could possibly make on a setup that was within manageable setup and control.

 

I would be looking at using HUGE baskets (VST make a 25g basket) and dosing 25g, getting 65-70g out and splitting every shot. That way you can offer two sizes without upsetting workflow (but i'll not include that as part of this so as not to overcomplicate things) and essentially double the output per bar. I'd wager that each bar could smash out about 350 shots an hour at full tilt with no trouble at all. (with a setup like this, you'll need 1x taking orders, 1x staff pulling shots, 1x steaming, 1x pouring and handing off if you want to really smash out at max capacity)

 

So with this setup you could look at:

 

per each 3 group machine:

350 x 6 hours peak per day - 2100

150 x 4 hours off-peak per day - 700

=2800 shots per day

 

at 70 shots per kg @ 25g dose over 8 days that makes 320kg per 3 group bar.

 

 

I would be looking very seriously at just what percentage of those 150k people attending would actually be consuming coffees, the weather, just how much setup cost you can actually afford to start with (not everyone will have the readily available cash to buy 300-odd-kg coffee, enough milk, cups etc, pay staff, etc etc), and a whole heap more variables. A lot of the time people will go 'omg we are going to get 150k people drinking coffee every day', but let's face it, that's not going to happen.

 

 

You're going to need to know the limits of your supply chain, so working out any weak links is vital.


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[quote name='Scotford']Right. So basically your only limit is how much coffee you can actually make. If you have 3 groups running full tilt, you can realistically do about 140-160 shots an hour (depending on your equipment, obviously). I'd use this as a basis that you can scale up from. Guesstimation time: [I]1x 3 group espresso only setup pulling 'trad' shots pf 18-36-30sec etc. [/I] Say 150 coffees an hour peak and half that off-peak. 6 hours of peak trading a day 4 of off-peak trading a day. = 1200 shots per day 50 shots per kg of coffee @ 18g (~1g) 24kg per day 8 days trading This gives you roughly 192kg coffee and about 9600 shots over 8 days. Not a huge jump above the average very high volume cafe. There are a couple of coffee shops in london that do around that kind of volume 5 days a week. NOW. If it were me: I wouldn't be thinking that i am catering to 150k people. I would take a look at how much coffee i could possibly make on a setup that was within manageable setup and control. I would be looking at using HUGE baskets (VST make a 25g basket) and dosing 25g, getting 65-70g out and splitting every shot. That way you can offer two sizes without upsetting workflow (but i'll not include that as part of this so as not to overcomplicate things) and essentially double the output per bar. I'd wager that each bar could smash out about 350 shots an hour at full tilt with no trouble at all. (with a setup like this, you'll need 1x taking orders, 1x staff pulling shots, 1x steaming, 1x pouring and handing off if you want to really smash out at max capacity) So with this setup you could look at: per each 3 group machine: 350 x 6 hours peak per day - 2100 150 x 4 hours off-peak per day - 700 =2800 shots per day at 70 shots per kg @ 25g dose over 8 days that makes 320kg per 3 group bar. I would be looking very seriously at just what percentage of those 150k people attending would actually be consuming coffees, the weather, just how much setup cost you can actually afford to start with (not everyone will have the readily available cash to buy 300-odd-kg coffee, enough milk, cups etc, pay staff, etc etc), and a whole heap more variables. A lot of the time people will go 'omg we are going to get 150k people drinking coffee every day', but let's face it, that's not going to happen. You're going to need to know the limits of your supply chain, so working out any weak links is vital.[/QUOTE] Many thanks for the comprehensive reply @Scotford That's very useful. Not sure if it was clear in my OP that there would be six coffee outlets, so wouldn't singlehandedly be dealing with 150,000 people. 150,000/6= 25,000. Over eight days is a potential of 3,000 people per day. So would expecting to sell 500 - 1000 drinks over a 10 hour day be realistic?

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Many thanks for the comprehensive reply @Scotford That's very useful.

 

Not sure if it was clear in my OP that there would be six coffee outlets, so wouldn't singlehandedly be dealing with 150,000 people. 150,000/6= 25,000. Over eight days is a potential of 3,000 people per day. So would expecting to sell 500 - 1000 drinks over a 10 hour day be realistic?

 

That is the way I thought about it - 150k/8days/6 outlets = 3k per day * 20% wanting a coffee = 600 drinks.

 

Obviously the visitor demographic is going to be a factor. If it is a kids concert then probably less will want coffee. Also if there are other outlets selling alcohol / smoothies / meals with soft drinks then it will cut into it even more. My guess is the main issue will be capacity at certain times of day i.e. there might be a 10:30 rush but then it gets quiet around lunch time as people are buying drinks with meals. Also the nature of the event is going to squeeze serving times - if there are things on at certain times (talks, demonstrations, concerts etc) then the times in between are going to be super busy. So it might be that you have 3 half hour slots at max capacity or above max capacity and you can't serve everyone and then the rest is much slower.

 

Do you know anyone else is bidding? Is there any value in pooling resources to bid together for multiple pitches? (Or is there a rule against that?)

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@OP I would work on the assumption that 10% of footfall is a high estimation of what you will capture trade-wise.

 

From a shop point of view, we work on a 1-2% capture of trade from footfall and that can be a stretch at times. To a captive audience, things will probably be a bit more skewed. I ran a coffee bar at Glastonbury one year and we did 35kg a day on 2x3 groups pulling double shots for every drink and we were in the best located area i could have thought of. On the complete flipside, I have seen people put on a hugely capable setup and staff where they are next to a fast, booze-led bar and they did 50 odd kg in a week. Location location location.

 

With a festival, I'd want to be the fastest serving, tastiest and most efficient bar on site. If I was an attendee and I saw a long line of people waiting ages to order/have made/collect drinks, I would avoid that bar like the plague. Your only real limit is how fast you can get orders in and delivered versus other traders. I'd happily leave one well alone and go to the fastest moving line if I were at any festival. You could probably steal trade from others without even meaning to by being incredibly efficient.

 

If you're going for it, make sure you get a good pitch and are capable of absolutely smashing out service times.


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[quote name='Scotford']@OP I would work on the assumption that 10% of footfall is a [I]high[/I] estimation of what you will capture trade-wise. From a shop point of view, we work on a 1-2% capture of trade from footfall and that can be a stretch at times. To a captive audience, things will probably be a bit more skewed. I ran a coffee bar at Glastonbury one year and we did 35kg a day on 2x3 groups pulling double shots for every drink and we were in the best located area i could have thought of. On the complete flipside, I have seen people put on a hugely capable setup and staff where they are next to a fast, booze-led bar and they did 50 odd kg in a week. Location location location. With a festival, I'd want to be the fastest serving, tastiest and most efficient bar on site. If I was an attendee and I saw a long line of people waiting ages to order/have made/collect drinks, I would avoid that bar like the plague. Your only real limit is how fast you can get orders in and delivered versus other traders. I'd happily leave one well alone and go to the fastest moving line if I were at any festival. You could probably steal trade from others without even meaning to by being incredibly efficient. If you're going for it, make sure you get a good pitch and are capable of absolutely [I][B]smashing[/B][/I] out service times.[/QUOTE] Thanks @Scotford, having attended several times, but unfortunately not really paid attention to the coffee bars, your estimate "feels" right. I appreciate all your comments, especially regarding being efficient. I'm fairly confident about having the best coffee on site, going on previous events, but understand that people are reluctant to queue!

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I'd aim for excellent coffee, personally.
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Just backing scotfords point on efficiency. After a day or so attending a festival you soon sus out the quickest serving outlets. It doesn't matter if they're not serving the best produce, when you're tired and hungry all you care about is getting your food/drink quickly.......I ain't prepared to queue for ages


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