Wonder how Kim came up with the idea for Saratoga Eats?
I joined Intero in October 2011. Very early on the Foundation Ambassador from the office approached me about making a donation to the Intero Foundation on every transaction I closed. I did that immediately! As I learned more about the Intero Foundation and the great work they were doing in the community by issuing grants to charities focusing on children all over the Bay Area, I thought...Hmmmm how can I do more? That really got me thinking...If I am going to write a check to the Foundation, let's have some fun along the way. My first thought was what about creating a presence in the neighborhood around the Saratoga Intero office. I had seen food trucks at different offices. I Loved Sam's Chowder Mobile so I reached out to them. They did not have a donation program – but that did not deter me. I still wanted to do something that brought people together – so I asked Sam's Chowder Mobile to come serve up lunch one day in April of 2012. The deal was – I would match their daily sales for the event and make a write a personal check to the Intero Foundation. The Sam's Chowder Mobile has come to our parking lot twice a year since then – April and October. To this day, everyone looks forward to it. After the success of the Sam's Chowder Mobile events, I thought about growing this concept in a much larger way. Moveable Feasts seemed to get crowds of people wherever they setup. I thought, what about hosting an event on a Friday night and inviting an 8 truck line up and invite the community to come in and mingle. So in June of 2013 Saratoga Eats came to life!
Having people hang out and have a great time was the goal all while raising money for the Intero Foundation. I provided seating for 300 with canopies to provide shade. 8 Trucks, 1 DJ with Beer and Wine being sold. I advertised the heck out of the event in local papers and with mailings and I was not sure how many people would show up. I have to be honest, I was very nervous.
All I can say is Wow! – I was so pleased to have over 800 people drop by, ordered food and hung out. Each of the trucks donated 10% of their sales for the event, I matched that in addition to underwriting the beer and wine so all the beverage sales went directly to the Intero Foundation. Since the inception of the inaugural Saratoga Eats, we have had 2 events each summer. I call it bookending summer.
With more and more people coming to every event – I had to increase the number of tables and chairs to accommodate 400. People still come with blankets and chairs and sit on the lawn around our building. We also had to increase the number of trucks from 8 to 10. In August of 2016 we grew the truck count to 12. Their food sales totaling over $21,000. That $2,100 from them and $2,100 from me before adding in the sales of beer and wine! I also added Face Painting and Balloon Twisting for the kids. There are people dancing and just having fun. It's Awesome! Our estimate last August was over 1,200 people over the course of 4 hours – WOW.
We kicked off Summer 2017 on June 16th and it was amazing as well! We partnered with the City of Saratoga and their Free Movie Night – in order to bill the event as Dinner and a Movie. We also brought in KFOX 98.5 to provide the music. They had a blast too. Now we're looking forward to the August 25th Event. I am confident it will be another amazing event!
I am so pleased that Saratoga Eats has been enjoyed by so many people.
Make sure to check our Facebook page for updates on Saratoga Eats throughout the year!