From the Farm/ Host

Feeding the 500 by Maria Grieco

Meet Maria. A WeFiFo home chef and mentor who has, with WeFiFo, fed 500 people in her home town of Darwen, Lancashire. In this blog post, Maria is going to share some of the things she has learned while feeding the (first) 500…

I love all things food. From the variety of ingredients, be it exotic or home grown in my dad’s back garden, to the chopping, cooking, eating and especially the sharing. I would much rather read a cookery book than a novel, my social media pages are littered with pictures of food not family (OK there might be the odd one or two of my Cocker Spaniel, Archie, but that’s where I draw the line). I would much rather go food shopping than clothes shopping and the only time Alan has seen me cry was at Marseille airport where the nice man at customs confiscated £40 worth of cheese that I had lovingly scoured the South of France for (Actually that’s a lie, he did see me cry when he set my Honda Jazz on fire but you will have to come to dinner to hear that story.)

[Maria Grieco]

Hosting with WeFiFo is, for me, a dream come true. I get to spend hours in the kitchen creating, prepping, trying out new recipes and then people who I have never met before come to dinner!
They eat, have a great time, say nice things about the evening and I earn money for doing it – what’s not to love! WeFiFo take all the stress out of selling my spare seats. They handle the money, they provide the event insurance, they advertise my events, help me sell seats and they are always on hand to help with any queries or questions.

Hosting for the first time is nerve racking, I logged into my account at least 10 times a day to see if I had sold any tickets, I painstakingly put the menu together then worried if people would like the food and if I had made the right choices. I even practised the full menu a couple of times on Alan and anyone else who walked through the door!

It doesn’t seem possible that I have already fed 500 people, especially as my maximum event size is 12! But now, hosting WeFiFo events feels completely normal to Alan and I. Nearly every event I host sells out, and I have been joined by a couple more hosts in my area. I love being part of the WeFiFo community, and if there is anything I could share with a new host or with someone thinking about hosting it’s:

  • Get in touch with the WeFiFo team (I email hello@wefifo.com) if you need help. WeFiFo will connect you to a mentor who can talk you through every step and be on hand to answer any questions.
  • Try to put as much information about yourself in your profile and blog, people are interested in you, your story and what motivates you to host.
  • Keep the first few menus simple. As you build your customer base and your reputation you can get more daring but most people are drawn to WeFiFo for the good honest home cooked food so do what you do best, cook food that is familiar to you and that you enjoy putting together.
  • Keep your costs down, especially for the first few events – if you offer good value you will get better ratings and reviews and you’ll find this helps you to build your profile so that it’s easier to sell seats at your table in the future.
  • Upload photos to your event on WeFiFo.com. The pictures of your event/food will help fill the seats and it looks great when the event is shared on social media.
  • Have a practice on friends and family. WeFiFo allows you to host private events which means that only the people invited via email can book on.  Getting your family and friends to book on and then review your event is a great way of working your way through the booking process, practising hosting and getting you started on the review ladder.
  • Every time one of your seats is booked, you’ll get an email letting you know – try to accept or decline the booking as soon as you can. Don’t worry if you want to decline the booking, a lovely automated email gets sent to the customer that won’t upset or offend them and helps them find food nearby.
  • Do use social media to spread the word, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest are a few that WeFiFo use. From a hashtag point of view try using #supperclubs #wefifo #yourplaceormine #meetnewpeople #makenewfriends #homemade #sharing #socialeating #homecooking #foodships #wefifoeats
  • Try to take pictures on the night and email them to hello@wefifo.com they are always happy to see how it went and love to shout out and share your success.
  • After the event don’t forget to review your guests, not only does it earn you cookies that you can spend either attending events or gaining food skills but this information helps other hosts to make a decision on whether to accept or decline bookings as guests have ratings too.
  • Do it again, once you have hosted I promise you, you will love it and get the bug. I have hosted over 90 events and fed close to 500 guests, met some lovely people, made lots of new friends and had an amazing time doing it.

[Dinner at Maria’s]

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