African food events, feasts, festivals, carnivals and celebrations; popups supper clubs and lunch clubs; Nigerian, Ghanaian, Senegalese, Sierra Leone/Liberian and Eritrean. I have attended many events in the year 2015. I attended five African pop-ups in November month so I am getting an idea of what is what. The question is what did I learn during my event visits? Well here is my feedback.
Africans, Caribbeans and Food In The Diaspora
During the year 2015 I attended the following events Africa Utopia at the Southbank Centre London, Ghana Party in the Park London, The Africa Live Festival in South London A Taste of Ghana and popup supperclubs Chukusldn, Jasons Little Kitchen, The Groundnut, Chale Lets Eat, Sierra Leonean And Liberian Supper Club Cham Cham and Cafeteria Asmarino by LemLemKitchen. Why did I do this? I did this to mingle with friends, support African and Caribbean inspired businesses and taste authentic African foods. I value African heritage, authenticity and personal interaction. I spent my money on African food. If African food businesses do well then there is a strong base to support other business (see maslow triangle and hierarchy of needs in your own time).
Things We Learned in 2015
We found out that you can make a business out of African food events. We noted that location is very important, give transport links and offer a map to guest (centre of London is of course best). We suggest that if you can, keep it African (offer African drinks from the motherland, South African wine etc.. what you wear brand it African). We like when you "Tell your story". We love the story about African food, the education, history and why you do what you do, the personal touch. We love being welcomed as your guests and about the next event.
Attendees Are Snap Happy
People judge you, your brand and event by the experience and by the photographs taken by all those who have attended. It’s all about the pictures that add to their memories of their event but also to your African brand.
What Is The Atmosphere Like
When people are spending all their time on their mobiles instead of chatting and getting to know each other there is something wrong, may be there is a gap between the guests or the delivery of the event is just not right. Facilitate socialising, face-to-face communication and networking. Or you may as well stay and eat at home.
Most importantly all the above can be dismissed. Most guests will understand if a few things have not gone right as long as you tell us all about your journey, the story of why you are doing this and your vision, about African cooking. Your passion must show. Welcome us, entertain us. All the guests would like you to success and then tell others. So it's part boosting yourself, thanking others and a sales call for the next event.
Why Feedback Is Important
Feedback online at Amazon, airbnb, ebay, yelp and uber is valued by customers and helps them make a decision yet business owners do not ask for them enough from past clients to help in future business. Grubclub has reviews as a major selling point so ask for them, facebook has likes, twitter and instagram followers ask for them you should be encouraging by incentive. Don't forget google, pinterest, trip advisor, meetup and Amazon if you have time. Tell your friends maybe offer a discount early booking. ... I think you have to do this again and again keep selling it. If this goes onto facebook others will see it. Testimonials can be added to your website.
21 Supper Clubs Pop Ups Recommendations
- Working as a team is important. Practice what you will do on the night
- Working in partnership to combined marketing is good to extend your reach
- Give something away. Budget for it
- Presentation and detail matter as guest take pictures on their mobile phones
- What we are eating tonight? Remind us what will come. On a menu board or on a printed menu
- Welcome your guests, tell your story and promote the next event
- Serve the meal on time and clear plates quickly
- Maybe have all the knives and forks on the table so you don't have to put down new ones
- Provide quality napkins, serviettes, salt and pepper and or hot sauce for the African guest
- Get African drinks if the budget allows South African wine or East African coffee
- Make sure the room is not too cold or hot
- Take care with your choice of African music, a different crowd older may like something else
- Is the music too loud. Check ask guests can they hear conversation
- Find out where your guests came from. Record it
- Find out where your guests heard about you. Record it
- Take high quality images photo and video for next event promotion
- Network online and offline, visit the best supper clubs and learn from them
- Find out how the best supper club market themselves
- Attend other events of African theme regularly as part of your marketing strategy. This is a valuable learning opportunity
- Use all forms of technology to get the message out and repeat
- Ask for feedback good or bad. Encourage by incentive reviews online
Real Opportunities Exist For African Entrepreneurs, Chefs And Caterers
So if you can cook the following, start planning now:
- West African, Nigerian, Senegalese, Ghanaian, Gambian, Liberian, Sierra Leonean, Ivorian (Côte d'Ivoire) and Cameroonian
- South African, Kenyan, Somalian, Ethiopian, Tanzanians, Zambian, Ugandan and Sudanese
- Caribbean, Jamaican, Barbadians or Bajans, Guyana, Haitian and Cuban
- African-American, AfroLatino, Southern and Latin
- Soul Food, Cajun, and Creole
Plan now, so in three years time you will be an expert and this will be a serious well known business. You will be one of the few doing it. If you wish to partner up with West Africa Cooks in which we can work together on a marketing plan, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally Attend, support with your money and then give feedback to African foodie events in 2016.
West Africa Cooks