We hit a taco record at WOAP!

Some truths. We're human. We're not magicians or superheroes. We revel in our successes, and we feel failures and let downs hard. We are business owners, chefs, type A people, perfectionists and especially hospitality workers.

Last Saturday, Taco Addicts participated in Wellington on a Plate for the first time, organising the Miramar Taco’ver in conjunction with Double Vision Brewing, The Food Lab, and the Mexican Embassy in Aotearoa.

We [DVB, The Food Lab, Taco Addicts] have spent the last couple of months organising all of the finer details: marquees (because you can’t count on Wellington weather at any time of the year, but especially not the beginning of winter), entertainment (how much do we have, how much can we afford), menus (how many tacos do each of us make and how many portions of each), ordering ingredients, sound and lighting (oh right, it gets dark at 5.30p these days, and we have this event going until 8/9p), liquor licenses, port-a-loos, rubbish and recycling, extra tables and chairs, decorations, social media, staffing, set up and pack down, etc etc etc.

Normally, Taco Addicts pays a fee to attend an event, we’re told what time to be there and then we show up, set up, make tacos for however many hours, pack down and leave to do dishes and clean up.

The thing about events is - you never know how many people are going to show up. Sometimes an event starts at 10a, and people don’t arrive until 12 noon. Sometimes people are there from 10am. With each event we attend, we gain more experience, and we see patterns in events we attend year after year. 

This was a new event, and our first time participating in WOAP. We spent a lot of time agonizing over whether people would show up in general, plus: if it was raining, if it was cold, if it was windy. I don't think any of us expected crowds like we had, particularly from spot on 11a.

So when it was 11.15a and we had a queue from the front of Prince to the end of the marquee, we could see it was going to be a crazy day! As Carlos said, we were in the weeds by 11.30am. We had 3 people working in Prince – me making tacos, Han reheating fillings constantly and frying up Taco Dorados, and Carlos taking orders. Prince is a 2m by 3.5m space - we can't really fit anyone else inside the caravan!

We also try to run a low waste business model. We don't believe in throwing food away and we'd rather play it safe and sell out, than to have food waste at the end of the day. Every event is a guessing game based on past experiences. We don't open every day, so we can't roll over prep from one day to the next like a 7 day a week restaurant. Ingredients cost money, making those ingredients into delicious tacos takes time, and throwing away food = throwing away money. As a small business, we don't have that to spare.

We did 150% more than expected on Saturday at the taco Taco’ver – we went back to Taco Addicts HQ to pick up more ingredients 4 times throughout the day. I was still making tacos at 8.30p when everyone else had sold out.

And, when we receive orders of 6-12 tacos on one docket, it significantly slows the whole system down. Imagine how long it takes to order 2 tacos (a normal order in Prince) and make 2 tacos (roughly similar times). Now imagine how long it takes to order 10 tacos, and how long it takes to make those 10 tacos. It's a losing battle, and most orders on Saturday were 6-10 taco dockets. Everyone wanted to try everything!

Trust me when I say that we do not want to take an hour to deliver your food or take your order. We don’t want to run out of food halfway through the day, disappoint people, or make people angry because they’ve been waiting for longer than expected.

I can think of things we could have done better, but also, we made more tacos in one day than we've ever made before.

We hope you had a good time, drank some good beers (how about that chili lager from DVB?!), ate some good tacos and had some good yarns. We hope you enjoyed the entertainment from Mariachi Aotearoa and the dance performances from Olin Yoliztli.

We're sorry if you were disappointed, had to leave or missed out on a menu item you really wanted to try! We did the best we could, we had fun and we made a shitload of tacos. We hope you had fun too!

Clearly there’s a desire for events in Miramar, and also an event that showcases tacos! Perhaps we’ll do something like this again, and if we do, we’ll take the experiences and learnings from this event and apply them to the next one.


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