Event Insider: ‘Taste of 12′ Feeds the Hungry
Home to the Wizards, Capitals, Mystics, and local college sports teams, the Verizon Center’s size, location, and amenities make it a prime spot for D.C. events. On May 21, the third annual “Taste of 12” returned to the Chinatown venue to offer guests a lunchtime preview of some of the area’s most popular restaurants, such as Acadiana, Central Michel Richard, and Zaytinya, with proceeds benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank. For $12, guests received six tastes from local restaurants between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Sheila Francis, Director of Event and Corporate Communications for Washington Sports & Entertainment, helped publicize the event to the media and local community. She drafted press releases, contacted food editors at local papers or food-related web sites, and reached out to the surrounding neighborhoods to spread the word about Taste of 12. Members of her team were responsible for soliciting participation of area restaurants and sponsors, determining what foods would be served by each restaurant, creating marketing materials for signage and e-mail blasts, and coordinating ticket sales and logistics involving set-up on the day of the event.
“One of the biggest obstacles is creating and even flow of people around the concourse and not creating a log jam at the main entrance,” Francis said. “We assigned volunteers and a captain to each quadrant of the concourse to assist restaurants with their set-up and any other needs that may have come up.”
As an eight-year employee of Washington Sports & Entertainment, Francis advises up-and-coming event planners to delegate duties to a cohesive group of people when planning an event. “Be sure to have regular meetings, and take notes on what went well or what needed to be improved upon.”
Francis feels that networking in the events industry is a key aspect to planning successful events. “It gives you a chance to share ideas, problem solve, and explore the industry.”