Food News

The Big Texas Beer Fest's Food Problem

Chad Montgomery got a lesson in event promotion over the weekend. The operations manager by day, beer guzzler by night had never organized a large public event before, and he learned a few lessons with his inaugural Big Texas Beer Fest.

One lesson is to take food truck commitments with a grain of salt. A week before the event, Montgomery thought around four food trucks would be coming to offer up grub at the beer fest. Then the people behind The Butcher's Son, a truck owned my Two Trucks LLC backed out. Montgomery got nervous.

Weiss Enterprises, who runs concessions at Fair Park and events all over Dallas like the bridge to nowhere party and this weekend's NASCAR events, helped out. Alan Weiss, who runs event planning for the company, spooled up resources that weren't being used for his other events to sell nachos, hot dogs and hamburgers on-site. Then Montgomery booked Eat Joe Dogs, a food truck specializing in tube steaks and bratwursts. But even that wasn't enough.

Then Gandolfo's pulled an all-out no-show, according to Montgomery and some initial coverage of the event.

Dain Pool, a co-owner of of the company that owns both Gandolfo's and the Butchers Son trucks, claims it was a misunderstanding. His group signed two contracts with two $250 retainers and articulated discomfort with the 35 percent fee on all sales, levied by the city and Weiss Enterprises, when they signed. A New Year's Eve event hosted downtown only required a 10 percent fee by comparison, according to Pool.

That Monday, when they canceled the one truck, they intended to cancel both. They coughed up their retainer of both trucks because they found a more lucrative weekend attraction.

Pool wouldn't tell me what commission he was charged to park at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, but with a seating capacity of 212,585 you don't really need to do the math. The Big Texas Beerfest drew around 4,000, as estimated by Montgomery. I asked Pool how sales were this weekend and he didn't talk numbers but his response said a lot. "To be honest, it was phenomenal," he said.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz