This year, customers are big on shopping for locally grown produce, meat and seafood. There’s no better place to get in on the farm-to-table action than the local farmer’s market. If your seasonal dishes are a hit, embrace the warmer weather to come as an opportunity to take your restaurant mobile. Sell customer favorites, get to know area residents and show potential customers just how great you are. But first, make sure your booth is ready to greet the oncoming crowd.
There’s no reason to keep customers guessing about prices – it’s often the first thing they want to know. That’s why creating neat, visible labels is an important part of your booth preparation. If you are selling the pickled vegetables you make for your side dishes, label the price of each bottle size. If you are selling combination plates as well as a la carte items, keep the price distinctions clear. In terms of how much to charge, Forbes advises against deep discounts in favour of demonstrating product value through limited supply and high quality.
The farmer’s market crowd is also the type that wants to know what they’re eating. Labels are great for showing off your entrees’ exclusive ingredient list from the organic veggies to the wild foraged mushrooms.
Showing Up Matters
It’s easy to staff your farmer’s market booth with one of your restaurant servers. However, doing so means you’ll miss out on meeting locals and locals will miss out on the chance to meet you. Many farmer’s market shoppers anticipate chatting it up with business owners who have specific, first-hand knowledge of how something is prepared and why. If you can’t show up for the whole weekend, consider dedicating a few hours of your busy schedule to wave a sample tray and meet and greet potential clientele. As you market your product, be prepared with business cards and fliers/coupons to promote walk-ins at your regular establishment.
Just as your restaurant reflects your signature style, so should your farmer’s market booth. Your theme and color scheme may borrow from your restaurant, or spin off in an alternate direction. Whatever you choose for tableware, signage, shopping bags and the like need not be fancy, so long as it’s personal. After all, this is a farmer’s market, where natural and artisan rules over glossy and overdone.
Don’t forget that entering the farmer’s market often requires a business license, liability insurance, an application fee and vendor's fees. And if you’ve got your eye on a particular location, act fast – there’s likely to be a long waiting list.
Have you secured a mobile POS solution? Your on-the-go customers will appreciate the convenience of having the most up-to-date card swipe capabilities, shorter wait times and personal data security at their service.