May 21, 2018 |

Pizza Festival Fails

By Denise Greer

Look for Signs that Event Planning May Go Awry

Pizza festivals in U.S. and U.K. have experienced major issues in the past month. Whether it’s logistical problems or running out of pizza, some pizza-specific festivals just don’t deliver.

pizza festival, pizza slicesAlbuquerque’s Viva Pizza Fest failed to hit the mark of its anticipated 30+ pizza vendors, which caused participating pizzerias and food trucks to ramp up production to attempt to feed its crowd. Organizers apologized and offered free concert tickets to attendees.

Notting Hill Pizza Festival was hyped as a two-day all-you-can-eat pizza event in London, but reports say, the festival ran out of pizza. Event organizers released a statement that an oven malfunction caused line cues to be excessively long. Eventgoers took to social media with stories of hour-long waits for a single slice.

The two recent events are two examples of pizza festivals gone wrong. Event planning is far different than operating the daily flow of a pizzeria. Special events are tough, especially for inaugural events. Organizers of first-time events have to secure vendors, coordinate logistics and anticipate attendance numbers without any precedent to help guide them. Here are a few tips to consider when evaluating whether or not to participate in a new event:

  • Always check that event has the proper permits, licenses and insurance.
  • Ask organizers about their special event experience. Ask for previous event numbers, including ticket sales, vendor counts and comparison data to pre-event projections. Do your homework to see if these events were successful.
  • Take a look at the organizer’s planning schedule. If there is not a breakdown of logistical timelines and deadlines dating back several months to a year, it’s a good sign that the event has not been properly planned.
  • Review the vendor contract. Easy opt-out clauses could signal that the event will not have the anticipated vendor numbers, which could leave you stretched to operate your anticipated traffic flow.
  • Review operational protocols, including security, food safety, cleaning/restroom plan, vendor support and contingency plans for various issues.

Above all, trust your business sense. If everything is not in order, pass on the event. On the other hand, if all of your questions have been answered and logistics are in order, special events can open up more first-time customers who just might turn into regulars.

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