Taco Team FAQs

What’s the gist?

You sell $2 tacos, compete in various categories, and market your business to taco lovers.

Don’t I have to be a Mexican restaurant?

No! That’s the beauty of the Taco Festival – everyone makes a taco. It’s the most adapted cuisine in America. But you do have to live or work in AZ.

Does it cost to enter?

Yes, it costs $200-$650. Here’s how:
Taco teams $300 single day / $500 weekend
Food trucks with power: $200 single day / $400 weekend
Sidecart competitions of salsa, guacamole, anything goes taco, veggie taco, and best booth design costs a total of $100 single day / $150 weekend

What do I get for that money?

You get a 20’x20’ area. In front, there’s a 10’x20’ tent (with sidewalls), and a 10’x20’ area in back for your cooking equipment. Also, two 8’ tables, 2 chairs, a team sign and menu board, ticket collection box, and power. You are also entered into the taco competition, which means you receive turn-in boxes for your competition tacos to be submitted in. If you don’t need the tents, let us know, we can lower your entry fee.

2017 Team Specs
2017 Team Specs

How much power can I have?

Teams are provided with two 110v outlets. If you need more outlets or heavier power, alert event organizers.

Can I keep a vehicle at my booth?

Only if it is integral to your booths’ operation and/or adds to the overall flair of the event. Vendor parking is available for utility vehicles and is within easy walking distance.

Can I sell food?

Yes! THIS IS NOT A FOOD DONATION, like many events. You can sell any kind of taco, taco sample, salsa, and guacamole to attendees for 1 event coin each (overall value of $2). Collect your coins in the provided container and count your coins after the Fest. Then, we reimburse you $1 for every coin collected (minus sales tax). Sell 1,000 tacos and you get $1,000!

Can I sell things that are NOT tacos?

Other items are allowed but only on a case-by-case basis. Elote, churros, rice, beans, salsa, guac, nachos, stuff like that, please let us know.

How much should I prep for?

Teams have historically sold between 500 and 3,000 tacos per day. This number depends on your ability, but 1,000 or more is a safe bet (meaning $1,000 back to you if you sell 1,000 tacos).

Are hand-washing stations provided?

No. Please bring your own continuous-flow hand-washing station. If you do not have one, we can rent them for $25/day.

Are plates or utensils provided?

No. You must provide disposable plates, napkins and utensils as needed. Remember, it’s an outdoor festival, so napkins, foil, and paper towel could act as a plate.

Do I need a health permit?

Yes. Since this event is on the Reservation, it must be acquired through Pima County Health. Organizers will walk you though this process. It’s not complicated, and it’s free!

Do I need a business license?

Yes. It’s a simple application and costs $25. We will walk you through it.

Any other hassles?

We need a copy of your insurance listing us as additionally insured. Details will be provided, but this is a simple call to your broker.

How does the competition work?

When you sign up, you receive one sample competition box to practice with. Then, on each day of the event, you receive four boxes, one for each meat category (chicken, pork, beef, and seafood), so everyone has equal time to decorate the actual boxes. Turn-ins take place every hour and are designated by organizers. You are judged on taste, presentation and texture. Winners are named in each category, but the title “Grand Champion” is cumulative from all of your scores. So although you don’t have to enter every single category, you should if you’d like a chance to win “Grand Champion.”

Does the taco I submit to the judges have to be the same one I serve to attendees?

Nope. But remember, you’re representing your business. People want to see you put your best foot forward.

Why do I only get four boxes?

The taco categories are chicken, pork, beef, and seafood. You submit each category in its own box (with six tacos in each box). For the other stuff, like salsa, guac, and anything goes taco, veggie taco, presentation is up to you – but there still should be six samples of each because each team has six judges assigned to it. We will have extra boxes if you’d like to use those.

Is there a prize?

Yes. We pay cash prizes for 1st through 3rd in every taco category and an Overall 1st and 2nd place. Plus, there’s 1st and 2nd for all Sidecart categories. The total prize purse is $10,000 over the weekend ($5,000 each day) that is divided among the categories. See below for the payout schedule.

When do I get my money?

Within 7 days.

Do I have to do both days?

Nope. Choose one or do both. Up to you. Last year’s attendance was around 15,000 on Saturday and 10,000 on Sunday. If you are using the Taco Festival as marketing, we suggest both days, but understand that strains your staff & business. BUT, the people that come to the Taco Fest are YOUR potential customers – so give it all you’ve got!

Team Participation

As a team, your restaurant would have tent space to set up shop at the festival and serve $2 tacos while competing for a $10,000 prize fund. Further details on team participation are outlined on the FAQ page for review. All teams are included in a range of marketing efforts, including social media mentions, website listings, print ads, web ads, flyers & posters.!

BARTENDER MARGARITA THROW-DOWN [MONTHLY] JULY – OCTOBER

This is a monthly margarita throw-down between 2 different mixologists taking place at Counter Intuitive in Scottsdale. Each throwdown will be judged by a panel of USBG leaders. All participating mixologists will then prepare their competition margarita on Sunday in the Margarita Tent at the festival for attendees to judge. The USBG choice winner and public winner will be publicized and receive cash and prizes from our tequila sponsor.

SPONSORSHIP

For restaurants looking to make a bigger impression, we have sponsorship options that offer additional marketing such as logo inclusion on festival marketing, as well as further integration into the festival itself, and a larger on-site footprint. For more details on available team sponsorship options, please inquire.

NATIONAL GUACAMOLE DAY BATTLE—SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

The first ever Rock the Guac will be hosted by Hotel Valley Ho. We are looking for 10 great valley chefs to participate in the competition. Each chef will be asked to prepare 250 2oz portions of guacamole to serve the 250 attendees expected.

MARGARITA SPECIAL | SEPTEMBER 20 – OCTOBER 20

We encourage all Taco Festival participants to offer a margarita special with our sponsoring tequila brand for the month leading up to the festival. We will promote all restaurants who are offering specials via social media and the festival website.

CONTESTS
Categories / Turn-in Times / Prize Money

NATIONAL TACO ASSOCIATION
Grand Champion:   $1,000

Reserve Grand Champion:  $250

12pm, Chicken Taco
1st place:  $300
2nd place:  $200
3rd place:  $100

1pm, Pork Taco
1st place:  $300
2nd place:  $200
3rd place:  $100

2pm, Beef Taco
1st place:  $300
2nd place:  $200
3rd place:  $100

3pm, Seafood Taco
1st place:  $300
2nd place:  $200
3rd place:  $100

SIDECART CATEGORIES

4pm, El Neato Meato Taco
1st place: $150
Runner-Up: $75

4:30pm, Salsa
1st place: $150
Runner-Up: $75

5pm, Guacamole
1st place: $150
Runner-Up: $75

5:30pm, Veggie Taco
1st place: $150
Runner-Up: $75

6pm, Dessert Taco
1st place: $150
Runner-Up: $75

Best Booth Design
1st place: $150
Runner-Up: $75

AWARDS
6:50pm, at Yelp Contest Stage

*last call is at 6:45pm, so grab a Marg and come see!