Behind the Scenes of Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival

Behind the scenes of Food & Wine Festival India kiosk

Have you ever wondered how our Food & Wine Festival kiosks are created? Why do we choose the types of cuisine that we do and how do we come up with the menus? What exactly is the process? Does it start with making a really cool kiosk and then finding a menu that fits it? Not to discount the look of this year’s new really cool kiosk, but, as you might expect, it starts with our culinary team.

Soon after the past year’s Festival ends, our culinary team sits down to determine what types of food our Food & Wine Festival might be missing. They brainstorm based on what foods are popular both locally and on a national level. Once they have their list, they narrow it down to a specific genre by asking which types are distinctive from other kiosks. Also, is this truly a unique park offering? Will it be a favorite for consumers or only appeal to a niche audience? This year, India was selected as our new featured kiosk.

Brainstorming recipes for India kiosk

So we are serving Indian food—but what exactly do we serve? The culinary team then skims the internet and endless cookbooks on Indian cuisine to determine what the most popular dishes are. They come up with a list of about 10, then begin testing different recipes. During testing, they evaluate the dishes from many unique angles. Is this dish going to resonate with consumers as Indian cuisine? Is this dish too similar to another entrée? Does it look and smell appealing? Is it too spicy for the average consumer? Also, our culinary team has to make sure that the dishes offered can be mass-produced without losing their authenticity. The dishes that pass this test then move on to make it to the kiosk’s menu. Of course, there are still many tweaks to the recipes before the first plate is served.

Building a mood board for inspiration

At this point, Culinary starts talking to the park’s Entertainment, Marketing and Operations teams. Entertainment is tasked with bringing India to life in the park in the form of a kiosk. Their overall goal is to make sure that the kiosk matches the expectation of the type of food offered there. When people see the kiosk, will they know it’s India and that Indian food will likely be served there? Taking inspiration from where the menu originated, the Entertainment team develops a mood board, similar to a Pinterest page, to decide the general look and theming. A graphic designer then develops a computerized version of the kiosk’s look. Next step: determining colors that are indicative of the culture they are representing. Once the kiosk is built on screen and approved, they begin building the structure and the graphic overlay. The park’s Sign Shop tackles the theming elements and the end result is what you see in the park.

Concept art for India kiosk

Let’s take it back a few steps to when we found out Indian food would be offered at a new kiosk. This is where Marketing comes into play. Whenever there is something to be communicated, it has to have a plan. A name has to be determined (even if it’s as simple as “India”), where it’s going in the park, what guests can expect to find on the menu and general awareness that there will be a new kiosk serving Indian food are all aspects that have to be communicated on specific dates leading up to the event and therefore thoroughly planned out. This information has to go on the website, social media channels, to traditional media, in emails and in-park communications. In fact, this “behind the scenes” story that you are currently reading was planned out as part of Marketing’s Food & Wine Festival communication plan. Sometimes we are just sneaky…

Entertainment and Culinary work with Operations to find a place for the kiosk within the park, making sure that the structure will not interrupt the flow of traffic. The location is also dependent on where there is access to water and electricity, adequate preparation space and food storage.

In the weeks leading up to the event, Culinary tests the recipes on a wider audience (Team Members). Marketing finalizes the Food & Wine Festival Guide, Entertainment adds the finishing touches to the kiosk and then literally drops it in place in the park.

That sums up the origin of a new kiosk, so now take a look at the exclusive menu for India.