Lindsay Marks explains what it takes to be a Dishcrawl Ambassador.
First, tell me about Dishcrawl.
Dishcrawls are kind of like pub crawls, but we visit restaurants instead. It’s not your typical tour company. Rather, it is a local neighborhood event. My mission is to show food lovers the best dishes in local restaurants allowing the guests to enjoy the intimate gathering, awesome food, drink, and to socialize with fellow foodies and keep them coming back.
And what is your role as an ambassador?
I host and coordinate all of the events here in San Diego. I am responsible for contacting and creating relationships for all of the restaurants in each specific neighborhood that is being featured. I am also responsible for driving all tickets sales and media passes for guests to join. I handle and monitor all of the social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to not only promote Dishcrawl but also to increase ticket sales and media coverage for each event.
Give me an idea of what it takes to organize a standard Dishcrawl event.
I call and email restaurants to feature. Multiple calls and emails and follow-ups are critical. People are very busy, and if they are not aware of what Dishcrawl is, it is up to me to hustle and make them aware. As Dishcrawl continues to grow, it is a must to “pitch” appropriately to each owner/manager of the restaurant. Trust plays a big part, because I need them to trust me that I will host and throw a successful event and to promote their business. Twitter is a huge task – fun but tedious. It is imperative to reply, retweet, direct message, etc. It could be a full time job. I tend to work afternoon to evening hours because I have to take into consideration restaurant hours. Planning each event takes about four weeks. I also make it a point to email the press/media and work with social bloggers to capture, review, and or feature the event.
What other kinds of events does Dishcrawl do?
Singles mixers for Match.com, Battledish – a chef competition, supper clubs, private events, and corporate events.
What personal qualities would you say best suit you in this line of work?
I have the drive and passion to be in the culinary and event planning industry. I am a huge foodie myself and respect the chefs and restaurants that are sustainable and provide local and seasonal ingredients.
If there were one element of the job you could eliminate, what would it be, and why?
I’m supposed to hand out surveys at the end of every event, and it’s awkward and cumbersome, and sort of embarrassing. I think it should be done online instead. We’re also supposed to hand out nametags at the beginning, but I don’t bring them. I know how to corral a group, and I don’t like to wear them, so it doesn’t feel right to ask anyone else to wear them.
And what element would you want more of?
The night of the event is such a rush. It’s where I shine. I have so much fun, and if it weren’t so much work, I’d do a couple each month. But I also work a full time job, and doing more than one a month at this point would be too much.
What is the pay?
I get 50 percent commission after payout of the restaurants. And, honestly when it comes down to it, with the amount of work the job takes, the hourly comes out to under minimum wage. The pay is not the best, but the benefits, contacts, relationships and event nights make it all worth it.
If I decided I might want to try my hand as a Dishcrawl ambassador, what would be a good first step?
You definitely have to have people skills, some serious hustle. It’s not just a walk in the park. You have to make sure that you want it, and you do have to be a foodie, I think. So if you have all that, just go on the Dishcrawl website and apply.
What unexpected challenges might I run into along the way?
Given strict budget constraints, restaurants could get a better offer or cancel for various reasons. San Diego is a great city full of awesome people, but funny thing is, we are all pretty last minute. Tickets will slowly sell weeks before the event, which always will keep me on my toes, and then the last couple days they fly off the shelf. I know it always works out in my favor, but nevertheless always keeps my heart pumping.
How about unexpected perks?
After a Dishcrawl event, a restaurant might call me and ask for my help with one of their events, and bloggers have reached out and asked to involve me in things they’re doing. And these relationships help expand and reinforce my contacts in the industry. It also helps me see I’m good at what I do.
Is there room for another Dishcrawl ambassador in San Diego?
Frankly, I would like the market to myself, but I think if someone wanted to do North County or South Bay, those markets haven’t been super successful with previous ambassadors. That said, I’m up for the challenge of some competition. So, game on.
Any last bit of advice you’d pass on to those interested?
You really have to want it. Juggling everything can be a challenge. I know for me the harder I work at it, the faster it will pay off.