This post is being sent out just before we head off to the SEC in Glasgow to start three days at the BBC Good Food Show Scotland, where we have won a bursary stand. It has inspired us to let you know a little about what goes into attending such a big event.
In our preparations for the show, we realised that not everyone is familiar with exhibiting at events like this, and think the exhibitors just turn up with some tasters. So we thought we'd give you a behind the scenes look at some of our prep work.
The BBC Good Food Shows are some of the biggest food and drink shows in the UK. A small shell scheme (they give you those white plastic walls and a carpet) stand, some lights, power and a few exhibitor passes will set you back around £3,000 to start with, that's before the cost of stock, display material, parking, lunch etc etc etc.
That's fine for big companies with big budgets, but not for the rest of us. Fortunately many of the shows offer special deals for the little guy and that's how we got here, through the bursary scheme. This involved completing an application and after being shortlisted, providing samples for a final taste judging.
We were among the 4 lucky ones that won a bursary at the Glasgow Show, and so the hard work started!
Registration....so much paperwork
So we have the stand, but to actually be there we have a lot of registration work to do, and the bigger the show the greater the paperwork!
You cant just turn up at these events and start dishing out the samples and flogging the goods. First you have to prove you're allowed to, that you are a registered food business, that you have procedures in place to protect public health, that your staff are trained, and a lot of other health and safety requirements.
Then you have to show that you have considered the health and safety aspects of this particular show. You have to assess all the risks, from food poisoning to your stand falling on someone, and all this needs to be documented and managed, along with all your insurance details!
Preparation, preparation, preparation......
And now that we have the paperwork in place and are allowed to go, we need to prepare the interesting bits.
The obvious one here is having stock. But how much? No idea, so we make lots and hope for the best! Fortunately Christmas is coming up and we can always use it at Christmas markets!
But then there is the stand itself. Sure you could pay a stand design company between £5k and £25k to come up with something, but that slightly exceeds our budget. So instead we spend a week or so constructing and decorating a variety of items from leftover DIY material!
And now that all the prep is out the way, we can relax and enjoy the show right? Well three days of standing up for 7 hours straight, non stop talking and barely a bathroom break, never mind lunch, followed by a few hours of breaking the stand down is not always relaxing, but it actually is really enjoyable!
So there it is in a short sharp nutshell, everything that goes into a big show. And hopefully you haven't noticed that all the preparation meant we haven't had time to come up with a better story to tell this week!
Have a great weekend, and if you're in Glasgow, come and visit us!