Successful Management: How to Prosper as a Booth Manager at the Taste of Chicago


Taste of Chicago is an immense enterprise in the City of Chicago, and its long running history is proof of how important residents of the city find it to be.  Part  of what makes Taste so successful every year is the management staff that runs each booth.  In order to be an effective manager one must have a keen understanding and awareness of their own product, and of their audience; management that understands their product, also is able to increase their profits, by communicating to their customers a direct message and advertisement about their varying food items.

Because Taste of Chicago is centered on food, it is imperative that a manager knows proper temperatures, food preparation, and how to handle items that have been pre-made. Food preparation for booths at a festival, is greatly different than food preparation in a restaurant. A successful booth manager is one that understands the difference between working in a high volume restaurant and outside at a festival, and is someone that can translate the work inside a restaurant to outside.  For example, when working outside all day in a booth, food temperatures can become essential to the customers experience. Also, proper packaging for items is important to the comfort level of each guest. Knowing they will be walking around all day with packages in their hand is something that a manager needs to consider. If a manager communicates well with his or her staff, then they will be able to provide great service to their customers, while empowering their staff to do the same.

In business, one must know how to steadily increase the marketing of their brand; in a struggling economy it is essential to know how communicate an effective message to your customers, and it is important to have one, clear and coherent directive about their product.  One way a manager will be successful at Taste is by aggressively advertising what their food is about, and what their style of food language is. A customer intuitively recognizes when a manager cares about their product, and understands if the manager is committed to promoting their own brand.


A strong manager is not only able to promote their product well, and to train their staff effectively, but is also able to understand how to promote their establishment and how to be detail oriented in a fast paced and challenging environment. Were one to miss important details, such as rental fees, food prices, and inventory, they would not find success as a booth manager at Taste of Chicago.

“To Be Organic or Not To Be Organic”

The organic food movement in this country is latent with misleading information, as well as uniformed but self-righteous consumers.  In my opinion, the term organic is used so loosely that it turns into something with no actual meaning at all.  By definition the term organic is supposed to be- with no man made chemical pesticides, growth hormones etc.  So to most people this means safer food.

But what most people fail to realize is that there are still pesticides used in some organic farming.  Albeit “natural” chemical pesticides, to me that doesn’t exactly scream safer foods.  Mercury is a natural element but I tend to avoid chew on thermometers.  But yet we still are forced to make a choice while grocery shopping or even going to a restaurant to dine out.  Do we choose to spend more of our hard earned money on a “new fad” that is being crammed down our throats and into our wallets? Or shall we accept the fact that we have been consuming none “organic” foods for our entire life and yet have not experienced any wide spread health impactions?

Now this presents a new set of issues for an operational manager, whether it is an established business or a new establishment.  Do you follow a new trend to try and hit this niche market? Also, by doing so if you so choose does this alienate the rest of the population who would also make great clientele?  By choosing to go “organic” your product and food cost would grow vastly.  Also, you have an obligation to be as well informed as possible, which will add on to the various tasks already at hand.  There is a social responsibility I feel that we must hold ourselves to in these situations.

I personally have seen nothing proving to me that the organic movement has any health merit.  As a future operational manager I would choose to stick with the healthiest options available without putting a moniker on it, especially one distinguishing myself as part of a new unproven trend.

-Do you feel that organic products have a misleading trend? And if so do you feel that would affect an operational managers position and duties in an establishment, such as a restaurant that may prompt “organic” products?