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NICA NEWS UPDATE………………...……..by Dave Schlabach, Executive Director NICA What’s All This Talk about Buying Groups?


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Wikipedia describes a buying group as the following: I


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edr ae n te It has been over two years now since a few of us were


talking about the skyrocketing costs being experienced by both events and concessionaires. One of the big concerns for everyone is the steadily rising costs of doing business. It is the single most important challenge to our industry and threatens to continue unabated. Soon, without some kind of creative intervention, the public may no longer be able to afford to support the events we all depend upon so deeply. So, we sat back and took a good long look at our industry


and wondered if there was a way we could make a real difference. With food, more often than not, being the num- ber one reason people attend events it seemed like a logi- cal place to start. We began to study how the franchise restaurant industry


operated and how they leveraged their collective buying power to lower their cost of goods. What we found is that they first negotiated with the manufacturers of their de- sired products to lower the price that the manufacturers charged the distributor. This was done with the under- standing and the mechanisms in place to ensure the sav- ings (called deviations) are passed along to their franchi- see. Next they will negotiate with a distributor to handle the distribution of these products to their franchise loca- tions. The distributor agrees to both reduce the cost of dis- tribution and at the same time handle the required prod- ucts and pass on the savings in the form of deviations along to the franchisee. It is a win-win for everyone. The manufacturer and the distributor win by increasing their volume of sales and the franchise and/or chain win by re- ducing their cost of doing business and keeping their res- taurants affordable to the public. The big winner is the consumer; they are, after all, the engine that keeps the economy moving.


You Can Do That?!!


Sb itd b tv a itn – See Te Pet od You have probably been surprised at a coworker’s hidden


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talent at perhaps being able to sing like a star or putting together a newsletter. We all have skills beyond our “job description,” all that need bring them out is to be asked. Although I am hired to perform stage shows and strolling


act, I have judged a dress up dog contest, hosted a talent show and even taken a turn as a “Deal or no Deal” model. All outside my job description but someone thought to ask if I would pitch in. Every s


ucsf l Fair has that “whatever it takes” attitude cesu


and so does every successful performer. I have seen entertainers stay after their set to help set up


34


So we began to wonder…why can’t we do something like


this in the event industry. Why can’t concessionaires be treated like franchisees? It was quickly pointed out to us that while franchise locations always stayed in the same spot and every location in a given franchise and/chain served the same food…concessionaires, on the other hand, were constantly on the move and their menus were, for the most part, quite different from one another. Okay, so we ‘got that’ but what about the volume. We pointed out that an independent concessionaire can produce and serve more volume over a weekend than many restaurants pro- duce in a month. And at larger events a concessionaire can handle more volume in 12 days than many restaurants can wrap themselves around in a year. We were also able to point out that while the rest of the country was struggling in this challenging economy the event industry, given good weather and proper promotion, has managed to hold its own. Long story short, several distributors across the coun- try agreed to give the concept a shot. We have also con- tracted the services of a company call JKI to act as our procurement agent. As procurement agent, James Albrit- tion of JKI is using his talents as a buyer for numerous chains and franchisees across the country to negotiate spe- cial buying group pricing from manufacturers. After a yearlong pilot program in California and the upper


Midwest the concept has really taken hold. North America is being divided up into regions with different distributors being given ‘primary’ status in areas where they have dem- onstrated strengths. We have been careful not to roll the program out to quickly because as with any new concept it is important to ‘get the kinks out’ before we push what is the most powerful member benefit we have ever been able to offer. If you are interested in becoming a part of this ground breaking program…please call the NICA Office to find out what distributor is participating in the area you are working and how to get involved. It doesn’t matter if you are an independent concessionaire, an event manager or a carnival operator…if you’re a NICA member this program is different than anything ever offered to this industry before and will make a difference in your bottom line. We will be giving you regular up-dates as this program moves along.


for the next act and even introduce them. The next year, that entertainer was asked to host that stage and everyone was thrilled with how well everything went. Sometimes I have been asked at a convention if I would


be willing to help out with different events and I applaud their foresight. I’ve also been asked if I could help out with an event happening in 5 min. I am flattered they trust me but more importantly, I am happy to be a part of the Fair’s success. Not all requests can be accommodated but asking is the


first step in resolving the problem. By nature, we are pretty creative people and helping resolve issues helps everyone in the long run. You may be surprised to hear yourself say; “


Ww o a o ta?” o , yu cn d ht!


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