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Guys, let me start with a little background.

We own a small cafe on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Global Cafe https://globalcafetahoe.com/

Neither my wife or I have a background in the food and beverage industry but through some twists of fate we ended up owning a cafe on the lake.  We have an amazing view of the lake from our patio, with outside seating for about 20 or so people, as well as about 20 or so inside.  We have a beer and wine license with a great selection of craft beers and wines.  We also have (very) gourmet coffee with amazing espresso and locally roasted coffees.  

Enough of the background already...

This spring I'd like to host a Herf, and I need some advise as well as maybe a kick in the head as to why we're doing this in the first place!  We'll have to close the place down, and make it a private event to comply with smoking rules.  With that said, we'll be charging entry for the event.  I'm thinking that we should charge about $35 and include none alcoholic drinks and hor de'oeuvres and maybe some entertainment.  Charge for beer and wine, and any entrees attendees would want.  

Advantages, beautiful views of Lake Tahoe while enjoying a cigar or 3, plenty of recreational activities if the family is coming up for the weekend, good food and drinks in an area where people don't smoke in public a lot.  Enjoy the BOTL company that comes with sharing a good smoke with friends. 

Disadvantages, I have no idea how many cigar smokers are local, if anyone would buy a ticket, or if anyone would come up to the lake for the event.  

Do we loose our ass closing down for an event no one buys a ticket for? Or do it and hope for the best?

If you were somewhat local would you buy a ticket?  Or enjoy a good cigar at your home?  

Asking the questions to the FOH mind trust before committing to this type of event.

FYI, I design automation systems for heavy industry, mostly mining, and my wife is a corporate accountant, so the hospitality stuff isn't really in our wheelhouse.

 

Thanks for any advice in advance!

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Invite Rob and it will sell out............:buddies:

Start Jan 3 with announcements and sell tickets, line up a cigar maker to show up, promoted properly it could become a fantastic venue.

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Sounds like a wonderful idea. I live in SoCal and if I could get enough advance notice I'd buy a ticket. Price seems reasonable for venue, non alcoholic drinks, and horse doovers. 

Good company in a comfortable atmosphere sounds like a great time. 

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That's one...............

Come up with a catchy name, maybe even have a contest for best name, Like "Global Cafe Herf and Turf",..............let the "Turf" part be a race of some kind, maybe around the parking lot carrying a full ashtray, a relay with teams, something wacky and therefore unforgettable. 

Get some Havana Club Rum......

Get some Frisbees made up to commemorate the event.(ashtray race)

Have local beer makers,cheese makers, etc. set up displays,you know how customers are about taking pics to show on public media.

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Thanks for the fast response, I would invite a representative of our Reno local cigar maker Illusione, but need to commit to the event first.  Harvey, its great to hear that you would come up from SoCal for this type of thing, that is very encouraging!  Thanks!

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Just remember the 5 P's. Start your planning well before you start to promote the event. If you promote and sell tickets 3 months before the event, you don't want to be wasting your time trying to plan the event during this time.

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I'd make my way from the bay area for this. It would be cool if you could get Dion or someone to rep Illusione. Even if not if would be fun. Advance notice is a must  as that time of year is super busy for my line of work. 

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Global Cafe Cigar Day - giving cigar smokers a place to enjoy a cigar on beautiful Lake Tahoe - sounds good to me, and I'd go were I in the area.

I guess for me the initial try would be about simplicity - provide music and basic finger foods as you mentioned, but it would really be about a place for people to come together. And enjoy a few cigars :)  Don't lose your shirt, but perhaps don't look at it as a way to profit either.

If successful, maybe future gatherings might include a few sponsors, etc.

Best luck, and keep us posted.

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For sure.  Great reason to get out of the Bay Area for a weekend. I'd drag a couple of buddies with me.  Bring the MTB as well...hopefully it'll be after the snow melts.  Maybe a poker tournament as well??  

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Decide what the marketing motive is? To bring promotion to the cafe or friends who smoke cigars together.

I ask because this will be fun but then you can decide who can benefit and sponsor. Cigar companies should drool to have potential customers and help give you stuff to make a loot bag for attendees.

Last, make sure to have staff briefed about revised activities for this event. I have only attended tons and loved them. 

Good luck!

 

 

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I'd worry about the ventilation inside - a lot. It's incredible how much smoke just 5 or 6 cigar smokers can generate.

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Thanks for the additional input, for sure we'll keep everyone posted, also Lotusguy, we will not be able to smoke inside the building.  Cigar smoking will be limited to the patio only.  This isn't too bad as the patio has the best views, and can seat almost 30 people.  The inside will be for getting food, coffee, wine, beer, and such, as well as maybe some music, and hopefully a vendor  setup.  

Because of this I was thinking either late May, or early June on a Saturday night.  The weather should be great for outdoor smoking then.  

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23 hours ago, Surly1 said:

For sure.  Great reason to get out of the Bay Area for a weekend. I'd drag a couple of buddies with me.  Bring the MTB as well...hopefully it'll be after the snow melts.  Maybe a poker tournament as well??  

If it works out, bring the MTB and I'll gladly show you some, um dark trails...

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That's awesome! One Of my best friends has a house on the lake in Carnelian Bay. Less than 2 miles from you! I live in Denver now, but was born in Reno and have spent plenty of great vacation time in that area. Its one of my favorite places on the planet. 

If you do it in June, I may just be able to get myself there to attend. A friends sister is getting married, so I will be making a trip for a week or so regardless. Weather I can make it or not, let me know if there is anything I can do to help plan. I would love to see this be a success.

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6 hours ago, Corylax18 said:

That's awesome! One Of my best friends has a house on the lake in Carnelian Bay. Less than 2 miles from you! I live in Denver now, but was born in Reno and have spent plenty of great vacation time in that area. Its one of my favorite places on the planet. 

If you do it in June, I may just be able to get myself there to attend. A friends sister is getting married, so I will be making a trip for a week or so regardless. Weather I can make it or not, let me know if there is anything I can do to help plan. I would love to see this be a success.

Cool, we live in Carnelian Bay!  Great place!

 

Ill keep everyone posted as we take the advice from this board to get the planning done first.  In my head I have a good plan however, I need to put it on paper, and commit to a date over the next week or so.  

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With so few places for cigar 'fellows' I cannot imagine that you cannot pack the place. Of course if there are local 'haunts' that compete with you, you should investigate that.

For me a 'herf' is a social gathering, not a commercial affair. I am sorry if this sounds rude. People go to see 'people' they know and meet new people that they don't. Hooking up here is a great start. Great herfs, start with great people huddled around smoking their favorite cigars. Food and drink may help a long event, but that is not why I go to a herf!

I am sensitive to 'commercial pressure' so I don't smoke in my local smoke shop. They are fair, need to make a buck and don't make me buy a cigar... but if I feel like a freeloader, as I do when I smoke there without buying, it keeps me out of the shop. It is a personal thing!

I think people expect to get charged for drinks, they do everywhere else. And if it is haul, they might like to know where they can crash and get dinner for the price of admission. Cigar smokers don't like getting hosed for a place to smoke. Not a lot of the guys that want to bring their own Cuban stash anyway. I think we all understand the value of a place to smoke, we accept a nominal fee for doing it and most of us don't want something for nothing.

Hell, it sounds like fun to me...! Cuban cigar guys are going to bring their own stash, don't need a cigar supplied, nor generally want one. They will be trading and smoking the cigars from others all through the event. I often never smoke a cigar I bring, give many or most of them away and smoke what others gift... I always give NC samples to one of the newer guys that is looking to take a few home to grow on.

Locals, they are a whole different breed, and you either know them and are in with them or you are not. They may not want to break their cycle of watching golf, lying about their game and smoking some 60 ring wonderment for a new place to smoke. Watching sports and smoking is not my thing. Hiding from my wife while smoking is not my thing either! Locals drink and smoke in places for many reasons, and I am sure those are some of them.

FoH is a great place to start. Lose your ass and get 10 smokers from here, and it may be the best money you ever spent. Herfing is about fraternity. I hope you don't lose your ass, but more importantly, I hope you have fun. Most guys lose when they sponsor a herf. They eat a lot of booze and a lot of cigars and would not trade it for the world in return.

Best of luck on the endeavor. -Piggy

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1 hour ago, PigFish said:

I am sensitive to 'commercial pressure' so I don't smoke in my local smoke shop.

Great post...I could just about quote the entire thing but I'll hang my hat on this one. There are so many great shops to smoke in and around Atlanta but I do NOT need another bottle of butane or lighter and I don't need any NC's. I guess I could buy and smoke my own but...

Although happy to see any type of HERF arranged including OP's I do agree that the more commercial it gets the less I would enjoy it.  

I hope I don't offend someone but I would never go to a CA Big Smoke. But I'm a hypocrite on this as I am fairly sure I would attend an "Event" in Cuba...maybe it's all about how "genuine" the event is?

 

 

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