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Massive Untapped Event Revenue Awaits You

Cash or credit? And what the dummies do ...

Here's the tale of two outdoor ethnic festivals.

Both derive most of their gross revenue from scrumptious food and beverage sales.

One festival clears around USD 100,000 and the other approximately USD 300,000 in food and beverage. They're both 4-day events. Neither festival charges admission. And one festival has an event footprint (total useful square footage / meteres) approximately 55% smaller than the other.

Wanna guess which one takes credit cards?

You probably knew where I was going with this one. The festival that sells around $300K of food and beverage takes credit cards. The credit card takers are also the event with ~55% less square footage.

Now that we've established that. Take a guess why the $100K festival refuses to take credit cards.

Their horribly flawed reasoning, "we don't want to give up 3% of our sales to credit card companies." On the flip side. The festival that does $300K is elated to give up 3% of its revenue. In their own words, "people move through the food lines much faster."

I've been at the $300K festival, and you get through the long food lines crazy fast. In North America, not everyone carries cash daily. But most people have a least one credit or debit card in their wallet.

"In a survey of more than 2,000 Americans, U.S. Bank found that people aren't carrying a lot of cash with them, and, when they do, they aren't spending much."


About 10 years ago and armed with the information above, I tried to convince the $100K festival to use credit cards. They gave me a bunch of lame excuses and were personally insulted by my suggestion.

Their decision was a dumb business decision. It's that a little harsh? Probably not harsh enough! Their own customers have repeatedly told them, "I don't want to wait in line for 45 minutes to get food!" Since the credit card suggestion was made 10 years ago, the $100K festival attendance and revenue continue to decline.

Full disclosure, the festival that refused to take credit cards was a pro-bono client for about 6 months. Their shenanigans were a significant catalyst for me abandoning practically all pro-bono work. That prickly perspective comes from over 10,000 hours of volunteering ... spanning the last 27 years.

My experience is when you give away advice for free, it never gets implemented! It's unfortunate and sadly true. Don't be afraid to invest in the future of your event!

If you aren't taking credit cards at your event, you might want to consider. There are a few rare instances where cash works better for some events. Those specific situations are not for today. Maybe in a future installment.

Until then ... swipe and tap away!

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