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2016 Festival Analysis & Enhancements For 2017

Chicago Margarita Festival: 2016 Analysis and Enhancements for 2017 Margarita Festival


The 2016 Chicago Margarita Festival brought together a diverse body of people from throughout Chicago and locations across America. An estimated 3,500 guests joined the fest. The festival ran over two days. Data from the fest suggests the beach location was the top positive and severe service delays the top listed problem. Thus, in an effort to improve services a HU MBA graduate provided a festival analysis with findings and solutions for 2017. Staffing is the top solvable issue for 2017. Overall, the analysis and solutions proffered are practical reducing wait and registration times enhancing the event.

We are sharing those findings with you and look forward to 2017 Chicago Margarita Festival being the best yet!

Chicago Margarita Festival

Finding #1: Registration Long Lines


  • 1 to 2hour registration wait times.


  • 5 Staff members checking guests.

  • Too many tasks attempted at registration. (security check, ID check, tickets scanned, bracelets handed out, drink tickets claimed)

  • No separate VIP and General Admission lines.

  • Scanner batteries died onsite.

  • In adequate registrants training.

  • Staff worked in the sun.

  • No line management

Enhancements for 2017:

  • Registration staff will be increased from 5 to 36. A 720% increase in staffing.

  • Registration tasks separated: (1) Security (2) ID check and bracelet retrieval. (3) Drink ticket retrieval. Entire registration process moved inside the venue.

  • Two separate lines for VIP and GA.

  • More scanners and a dedicated power source for continual charging.

  • Registrants in depth prior training.

  • Registration will have dedicated tents.

  • Barricades will be used to create turn style lines.

Finding #2: Long Lines at Drink Station


  • Long drink lines


  • 15 bartenders

  • No line demarcation

  • Bartenders over utilized: tickets, cups, ice, drink and salt

  • No service limits

  • Slow supply refills

  • Limited signage

  • One service location with heavy congestion

Enhancements for 2017:

  • Increase the number of bartenders. BASSET training required. (*based on event final guest count following rule of thumb 1 per 50 to 75 people).

  • Add turn style lines to demarcate lines providing clear order.

  • Three layers of service enabling ordering, preparation and refilling by three.

  • A maximum of two drinks per visit.

  • Dedicated supply team. (*based on the event final guest count following a rule of thumb 1 per 200 people)

  • Signage of service requirements, service times and varieties.

  • A second and third drink station added decreasing congestion and increasing service.

Finding#3: Entertainment


  • The music theme


  • Only a DJ performed. Limiting the reach and feel of live music outdoors on the lake.

Solution for 2017:

  • Live performances with DJ intermission sets. The theme will be live Latin Congo and Island sounds with a touch of classic Chicago House sounds. And a twist of fusion embracing an embellishing the island feel.

Finding#4: Vendors


  • Limited interaction during the festival

  • Limited food choices


  • 5 vendors

  • Not enough food trucks

Solution for 2017:

  • Begin vendor solicitation in advance. Add 10 to 15 vendors.

  • Increase the number of food trucks from three to seven.

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