Readings and Resources for Festival Food Vendors

November 2009

Photo by Sue ByfordPhoto by Sue Byford

If you’re a food vendor interested in building your business even more, or if you’re new to the trade and are simply considering starting your food vending business, there is a lot to learn. Not only do you have to know how to prepare your chosen food, how to attract customers, how to deal with money, and how to sign up for fairs and festivals, but you also have to know how to balance your books, do your taxes, and prepare all the other endless little things that will keep your business running.
There are plenty of resources out there, some of which you’ll absolutely have to read and others of which you may choose to read if you think they suit your needs. First off, though, you need to start out on websites like the Federal government’s department of health, where you’ll be able to find links to all the health regulations you ever needed to know. You’ll also be able to find resources on your state’s website about tracking and paying taxes.

From there, you can move on to the websites or resource sheets from the specific festivals where you intend to set up camp. You may be able to find extra rules and regulations that different festivals impose on their vendors, or you may even be able to find information about how and where to publicize for the event, as you may be able to publicize alongside the event’s own publications.

You can also check out other, more specific resources such as Douglas R. Brown’s The Food Service Professional’s Guide To: Controlling Restaurant and Food Service Food Costs, which will help you, even as a small operation, control your expenses so that you can make a better profit. Other practical books include J. Anres Vasconcellos’s Quality Assurance for the Food Industry: A Practical Approach.

Besides this, there are plenty of websites for food vendors by food vendors where you can learn about dealing with employees, taking inventory, and other necessities of your job. Plus, it can just be fun to get the perspective of someone outside your own particular area or in a whole other part of the country.

Other resources you might want to check out include general business resources, such as Bill Collier’s How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner . . . and Still Have a Life or Denise O’Barry’s Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success. These will help you navigate setting up and running any type of small business, including a food sales business.

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