Guest Post: How to Manage Multiple Events

By Franchisee Jason Sorrells

  • Dallas, TX
  • Franchisee since 2002
  • Operates 9 mobile event carts and a food truck

September 21, 2002 was the day of my first event. I remember it like it was yesterday.  I brought enough smoothie mix and bananas to do $10,000.  I had three people working the cart that day; myself, my girlfriend (now wife), and my cousin.  After it was all said and done, we did $1,500.  I had no idea how big I could grow this. I was working full time at another job at the time and I knew I didn’t want to grow it to the size where I had to have employees.  A few months later, that all changed and I made the decision to quit my job and jump into this business full time. In the summer of 2003, I hired my first employee (She still works with me today!).

Fast forward to June 2015. I operate nine Ka’anapali Carts, one Maui Wowi truck, plus 19 other concession carts. Although I think I can be everywhere all the time, I quickly found out it’s impossible and that I need people to help me.  It is not uncommon for me to have 15 events going on during a weekend with 50+ employees at these events. Because of this, I have discovered several things that have helped me manage my staff at multiple events.

  1. Build a Strong Team: I have a core group of about seven full-time employees. These are my managers at my venues and events.  Obviously, I can’t be at every event. These managers know that they are an extension of myself and the company.  They direct my event crews on all aspects related to the operation at the carts.
  2. Technology is your friend: I think technology is a huge part of managing staff.
  • My employees know exactly what events they are working and what times they are working through a website called when2work.com (whenIwork.com is also a good website for scheduling)
  • When they get to the event, they clock in and clock out through an app called vericlock.com
  • We use a group text app, Groupme, at the events to communicate with each other.
  • I use a website called wunderlist.com, this helps me assign daily tasks on non-event days and on event days this helps us let each other know what the events need stocked up for the next day.
  • I have started using iPads at every location as a POS System and our end of the night inventory. This, I believe is going to help my business tremendously.  I will now be able to control my labor in real time instead of waiting on the end of the night reports from my managers.

sorrellsOn multiple event weekends, I use my time to travel between my different accounts and check in with my managers. I try and make it to each event every weekend and talk with all of the key management at each venue. I like to do this because I never want them to feel that I am favoring one venue over the other.

Whether you have one event or 15, with the right team in place and the help of technology, you can streamline your system to be as efficient and profitable as possible.

 

An Inside Look: Maui Wowi at High Volume Venues!

DuAnne Redus at Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

DuAnne Redus at Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

When it comes to working high volume events and serving to thousands of customers over an extended period of time, Franchisee DuAnne Redus knows what it takes! She has been a thriving franchisee with Maui Wowi Hawaiian for over eight years and is a prime example of how much success can come from franchise opportunities. DuAnne operates a brick-and-mortar store in Wimberley, TX, as well as six mobile event carts. Her carts set up at events throughout her community and also at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), a state of the art venue in Austin, home of the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the 2014 Summer X-Games! She has provided some insight into her success at COTA and what it’s like to have her business in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

Formula 1

  1. What does it take to work a large-scale event/venue?
  • An excellent relationship with the concessionaire and venue is a must.
  • Planning in advance for multiple scenarios prevents upsets when things don’t work the way they ‘should’.
  • Finding employees who can be resilient in all kinds of weather and changing conditions over a 3-5 day event is imperative.
  • World-class customer service requires personality, skills and a strong person mentally, emotionally, and physically.
  1. How do you prepare?

Since the first Formula 1 races (F1) in 2012, we have built a core team of employees who know what it takes and can perform well.  Each event has required us to expand the team in order to accommodate the large crowds. We begin the employee hiring process two months in advance.  We research the event, as well as similar events to start the logistics and planning process for products, etc.  We also begin a dialogue with our concessionaire to ensure we are meeting the standards of the venue.

Cart_Emp2

When we do race events, we are located in 3-6 areas around the track.  That means we must service our units over 3+ miles.  Some units are busier than others or busy at different times of the day/night and sometimes we have to move employees and product to account for the variation.

Formula 1 Collage

  1. What makes it different from smaller events or a store location?

Small events require less capacity and less logistical planning, but still require good relationships.  The store is a model that repeats itself on a daily/weekly/monthly/seasonal basis so we have developed procedures that allow it to run smoothly.

  1.  How many people do you estimate you are able to reach by working at the COTA?

The events attract large volumes of people.  If 200,000 people attend a particular event, we have a market penetration rate of over 5%.  Tens of thousands of people are enjoying our products throughout the year of events at COTA.

Last year, we worked five races and 16 concerts. This year, with the inaugural Austin Summer X-Games, we will reach a whole new demographic of the population.

  1. What kind of benefits or advantages are there from working in a large venue?

Having a presence at events in a world-class venue places us in the hearts and minds of customers.  We now have people who have come to the venue multiple times and they look for us!  During the 2nd year of Moto GP, we had international visitors who tracked us down as soon as they got to the venue!

One benefit for me is that my employees have the opportunity to experience an event that is multi-cultural.  Seeing the flags and hearing many languages is a rush and adds excitement.  My local community is pleased to see us at the big events and tell others that we are ‘their’ Maui Wowi.

It pleases me to work with the ‘best of the best’ and offer the ‘best of the best’ beverages.

 

Guest Post: Scoring Big at High School Events!

Maui Wowi FranchiseeBy Franchisee Mary Bigler

  • Prior Lake, Minnesota
  • Franchisee since May 2002
  • Operates 11 mobile event carts and a location at Burnsville Mall

It’s true:  while Minnesota may be cold during the winter months, there is a lot going on indoors and it is actually the highest grossing time of year for my business.  People are always surprised when I tell them we sell more smoothies in January through March than in the summer here in Minnesota!

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) governs high school sports and activities, and the high school tournaments are a tradition here and well supported by the community.  A large concentration of these tournaments happen February – March.  Everything else takes a backseat in life while we make Maui Wowi happen for tournament attendees.

It started off this year with MSHSL Girls State Hockey on Feb. 19, a four day event at the Xcel Energy Center, with MSHSL Girls Gymnastics running simultaneously Feb. 21-22 at the University of MN.  Then Feb. 27-March 1, we had MSHSL Wrestling at the Xcel Energy Center with MSHSL Boys Swim & Dive at the U of M Aquatic Center.

The biggest one of them all takes place March 5-8; a four day tournament with busloads of marching bands, pep clubs, and hockey fans of all ages rotating through the arenas for the MSHSL Boys State Hockey Tournament, which is held at both the Xcel Center & Mariucci Arena at the U of M .

Sports Illustrated says, “…You don’t have to sell us on the greatness of the Minnesota state high school hockey championship. The pride, the passion, the tradition; it’s all there in the country’s largest scholastic sporting event.”

Check this out for fun and to get a glimpse of the Minnesota hockey culture:  http://nhl.si.com/2014/03/08/minnesota-high-school-all-hockey-hair-team/

We had MSHSL Boys Basketball March 12 -13 and will finish up with Girls State Basketball held at Williams Arena & Mariucci Arena at the U of M March 19 – 22.

It’s been busy! Our sales were up at nearly every tournament and attendees can’t wait to get their hands on our collector tiki cups. Every year they come back for more and look forward to topping off their tikis with our signature smoothies.

MSHSL-line

Even with back to back tournaments, my Maui Wowi business has even more events going on simultaneously. Since Feb. 19 when the season started, we also managed to pull off eight other college hockey games, the Paul Simon and Sting concert, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, and Demi Lovato  concerts, along with a few catering jobs and five Minnesota Wild NHL Hockey games.  We also have the Big 10 Hockey Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center March 20 – 22 and Minnesota Swarm professional Lacrosse games.

It’s a lot.  Some things just won’t get done until we can catch up in April.  The support I receive from family, friends, and fellow franchisees is great. I have a lot of friends & family that help out working during our busy time, and past employees who are home on college break.  Fellow franchisees in the area also help out when they can.

Juggling bananas, managing inventory, scheduling employees, setting up, and doing everything it takes to run the business for this short time span is a challenge, but somehow it all comes together with the help of teamwork.

The best part about working these tournaments is when kids acknowledge us. I hear things like, “Maui Wowi is a tradition for State; I always get a Maui Wowi at State!”  They wave hi as they walk past the carts and to see people so excited about buying a smoothie makes all our hard work pay off.

To stay up-to-date with what events Mary and Maui Wowi will be working next, “Like” Maui Wowi of Minnesota on Facebook!