Businesses from across the region have hailed this year’s Yum! Food Festival the best yet, with many reporting record sales and not being able to cope with demand.
Thousands of visitors flocked to the city centre this weekend as the festival of food and drink took over Queen Victoria Square and the surrounding area with an array of delicious tastes, demonstrations and market stalls.
Over 32,000 more people came to King Edward Street than the previous month, that’s an increase of 75% on Saturday alone*.
Many stall holders sold out on the first day, having to spend the whole night cooking in preparation for the rest of the event. Matt Cunnah, owner of Hull Pie and Pie 2, commented:
“What a great event again. Each year it gets better and better, the event organisers work hard with the traders to create the best possible event. I now have two businesses so it’s these sort of local events that are important to us to help with brand awareness and sales. Credit to HullBID and Sowdens for a fantastic few days.
“We sold out each day, sales were up by 25%, so that’s a significant increase year on year.”
Princes Avenue based restaurant, Thai House, also benefitted from the event. Owner, Gabrielle Rowland, added:
“We took over Thai House on Princes Avenue four months ago and Yum was a new venture for us, in fact it’s the first time we’ve done any food festival. The first day we were overrun with customers so we brought twice as much the next day, on Saturday we sold out twice so we had to keep re-stocking! It was really quite amazing how well we did and we’re looking forward to taking part again next year.”
The event, funded by HullBID, was created to showcase Hull’s food and drink offering and attract people into the city centre to increase footfall and sales for local businesses. Kathryn Shillito, City Centre Manager, said:
“What a phenomenal three days we’ve had! Our Yum! Festival of Food and Drink promised to be bigger, bolder and more enticing, and this was evident by the sheer number of visitors… Hull city centre was buzzing.
“The 2014 Festival was expanded to include a wider range of cuisine and culture with food from 15 individual countries, and the main marquee proved to be a big hit with food, live music and cookery demonstrations running into the evening. Many of our member businesses participated in the event but other city retailers also noticed improved sales because of the substantial increase in footfall.”
The event not only provided a platform for local traders, but attracted businesses from outside the city who were impressed with what they saw. Leeds based The Pizza Guy, sells freshly cooked pizzas from the back of a converted Land Rover fitted out with its own wood burning oven. Owner, Simon Walker, commented:
“This was our first food festival since we set up in June and we weren’t disappointed. We were impressed with the footfall on the Thursday and Saturday, we nearly sold out selling 176 slices of pizza on the Saturday alone! Being from Leeds, Yum helped our business both from an economic and brand awareness point of view, we’d definitely do it again in 2015. The future’s looking bright, we were received well and these events are an opportunity to show the public what we can do.”
Sowden and Sowden who were contracted to deliver the event was delighted with the success, which showcased exactly why Hull is UK City of Culture 2017. Polly Sowden, commented:
“Hull really is a city on the up. Being a local events and marketing agency, we know exactly how much potential there is to stage big and exciting events in the city, and seeing how many people turned out for Yum just goes to prove us right. Local businesses always get on board with these events, which is why they keep getting bigger and better each year.
“Winning UK City of Culture 2017 has given everyone such a big boost and I’m sure we’ll see more and more events like this. Culture isn’t just about art and theatre, it’s about the whole city coming together to showcase what we’ve got to offer, whether that’s food, drink, music or fashion – there’s something for everyone and Hull is the place to be.”
Hull Pie sold 700 pies on the first day this year, compared to 700 across the whole event in 2013
Happy Hounds dog biscuits sold out daily and had to cook through the night for the next day
Thai House, Princes Avenue, sold out twice on Saturday and kept re-stocking
New business, The Pizza Guy sold out almost 200 slices of Pizza in one day
Rose Cottage Pies sold out
Macaroon Man was up all night baking to cope with demand
American Chip Spice was inundated, selling almost 1000 jars
Emma’s Cheesecakes sold out daily
Ilovehogroast.com sold out
*Figures quoted compare footfall during Yum Festival (week 32) to the same figures during week 28 (Saturday 12 July).