Consuite - A Sample Shopping List

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When I took on the job of running ConSuite for Synthetic ConFusion, I was shocked to find that there wasn’t any sort of standard shopping list that I could work from. We’ve been running the convention for 32 years – this should be a solved problem by now. Clearly information transfer had been a problem in the past, but I decided that I would not put my successor in the same position. Plenty of people had posted ConSuite buying questions to SMOFS over the years, but nowhere was I able to find something like the list that follows, so I decided to make it as public as possible.

Do not print this out and expect it to be perfect for your convention. Every convention is different – your attendees may drink more beer or more diet soda and abhor chocolate. Obviously factors like number of attendees, budget, price of hotel restaurants and hours of operation can have a major impact on your buying. However, if you find yourself starting from scratch, this at least gives you a place to begin!

Our factors: Synthetic ConFusion had roughly 720 attendees. There was both a smoking and non-smoking consuite, and both were open 24 hours/day from 3 pm Friday to 3 pm Sunday (plus a Dead Dog party to use up the extras). Alcohol was served from 7 pm to 2 am on Friday and Saturday night. Food and drink in the smoking consuite was pretty minimal. This list also includes some joint purchasing for Green Room (and the Green Room at ConFusion is of the “well-stocked with substantial food” model, not just coffee, etc). Our hotel restaurant is a Shula’s Steakhouse, so out of the price range of most of our attendees, and there aren’t any restaurans within easy walking distance (especially since the convention is in January).

The following list represents $2,875 of the $3,377 I spent. The rest was on rental of beer equipment, paper supplies, food/drink supplies for some special events, additional Green Room expenses, decorations, and a Thursday night concom-GoH gathering. Of the $2,875, I spent 40% on drinks (soda, juice, water), 19% on alcohol (beer, hard cider, wine), 23% on "real food" (sandwich fixings, fruit, veggies, cheese), 10% on snacks (chips, pretzels, candy) and 9% on breakfast food. The drinks total includes 10 cents deposit on each of the 2,564 returnable soda cans, so we’ll recoup some of that cost when I get around to returning the cans. The drinks numbers are a little off, as I adjusted the quantities to subtract what we had left after the convention, but did not adjust the cost.

One other note: my approach to ConSuite was to have the basics out all the time, but to do something special about once per hour. So when you see a single 3 lb pkg of guacamole, or two rotisserie chickens, that’s what that’s all about. I found I could make small quantities of special items have a lot of impact for the money.

Category Item Purchased Quantity
Alcohol beer, Bell's Porter 1 keg
Alcohol beer, Honey Brown 1 keg
Alcohol beer, Woodchuck Cider 2 kegs
Alcohol Wine, asst red and white 16@ 750 mL bottle
Breakfast cereal, cheerios 2 pk
Breakfast cereal, fun pack 3 pk
Breakfast cereal, raisin bran 3 pk
Breakfast cereal, Oatmeal 55 instant ind
Breakfast cream cheese 6 dozen ind
Breakfast juice, apple 2 gallons
Breakfast juice, grapefruit 4 doz@ 10oz bottle
Breakfast juice, orange 4.5 gallon
Breakfast milk, 2% 5 gallons
Breakfast milk, skim 2 gallons
Breakfast pastry, bagels 6 dozen
Breakfast pastry, cinnamon rolls 4 dozen
Breakfast pastry, mini danish asstd 6 dozen
Breakfast pastry, mini danish cream cheese 6 dozen
Breakfast pastry, mini muffins asstd 8 dozen
Breakfast pastry, Nature Valley chewy granola bars 4 dozen
Breakfast pastry, Nutrigrain bars 4 dozen
Breakfast pastry, poptarts 8 dozen
Drinks hot, regular coffee 1@ 36 ct pre-measured
Drinks hot, decaf coffee 1@ 36 ct pre-measured
Drinks hot, regular tea 312 ct
Drinks hot, herbal tea 4 dozen bags
Drinks hot, sugar 2000 ct
Drinks hot, equal 800 ct
Drinks hot, coffee mate 300 ct
Drinks hot, regular hot chocolate 60 ct
Drinks hot, sugar free hot chocolate 60 ct
Drinks juice, 100% juice boxes 10 doz
Drinks juice, V8 8 doz@ 6 oz can
Drinks Soda, diet [1] 700 cans
Drinks Soda, regular [2] 1316 cans
Drinks water, bottled 805 bottles
Real Food cheese, asst pieces (brie, gouda, etc) 17 lbs
Real Food cheese, goat cheese log 2@ 11oz log
Real Food crackers, Carrs 10 sleeves
Real Food crackers, Club 4 boxes
Real Food crackers, Ritz 3 lb box
Real Food eggs, pre-boiled/peeled 20 lbs
Real Food fruit, apples 18 lbs
Real Food fruit, bananas 41 lbs
Real Food fruit, clementines 20 lbs
Real Food fruit, oranges 16 lbs
Real Food fruit, grapes 16 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, bread 40 loaves
Real Food sandwiches, butter 250 mL tub
Real Food sandwiches, grape jelly 4@ 1.5 lb jar
Real Food sandwiches, peanut butter creamy 8 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, peanut butter crunchy 4 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, marshmallow fluff 2 lg jars
Real Food sandwiches, interesting mustards 8 assorted reg jars
Real Food sandwiches, mayo (bulk for tuna) 72oz jar
Real Food sandwiches, mayo 2 squeeze bottles
Real Food sandwiches, Miracle Whip 2 squeeze bottles
Real Food sandwiches, sliced cheddar 10 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, sliced ham 13 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, sliced roast beef 6 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, sliced salami 5 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, sliced swiss 7.5 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, sliced turkey 9.5 lbs
Real Food sandwiches, tuna 2@ 4lb can
Real Food soup, asst varieties 7 lg cans
Real Food special, Guacamole 3 lb package
Real Food special, hummus 32 oz tub
Real Food special, Olives 42 oz jar
Real Food special, pickle spears 1 gallon
Real Food special, rotisserie chicken 2 chickens
Real Food veggies, baby carrots 30 lbs
Real Food veggies, bell peppers 24 peppers
Real Food veggies, broccoli florets 6 lbs
Real Food veggies, celery 6 lbs
Real Food veggies, cucumber 9 cucumbers
Real Food veggies, grape tomatoes 4 lbs
Real Food veggies, snap peas 6 lbs
Real Food veggies, dip 8@ 250mL tub
Snacks candy, Conversation Hearts 1 lg container
Snacks candy, M&Ms peanut 2@ 52 oz bag
Snacks candy, M&Ms plain 5@ 52 oz bag
Snacks candy, Mike & Ikes 5 lbs
Snacks candy, skittles 4 lbs
Snacks candy, twizzlers 180 ct
Snacks chips, asst individual bags 4@ 60 ct ind bags
Snacks chips, baked pita chips 4 28oz bags
Snacks chips, plain 4@ 11 oz bag
Snacks chips, wavy 4@ 11 oz bag
Snacks chips, bbq 6@ 11 oz bag
Snacks chips, sour cream onion 6@ 11 oz bag
Snacks chips, cheese puffs 5@ 25 oz bag
Snacks chips, tortilla 16 lbs (8 bags)
Snacks chips, Chex Mix 4@ big bag
Snacks chips, goldfish 58 oz box
Snacks chips, pretzel sourdough nibblers 48 oz jug
Snacks chips, pretzel thick sticks 32 oz jug
Snacks chips, salsa 1 big jug
Snacks chips, interesting salsa 8 assorted reg jars
Snacks cookies, animal crackers 5 lb jar
Snacks cookies, asst 6@ 24ct boxes
Snacks cookies, Milano 60 ct pkg
Snacks cookies, oreos 3@ 10 sleeve box
Snacks nuts, cashews 5 lbs
Snacks nuts, peanuts 7 lbs
Snacks nuts, honey roasted peanuts 3.5 lbs
Snacks nuts, pistachios 8 lbs
Snacks special, brownie bites 3 lb package
Snacks special, quick breads 3 loaves

[1] Diet soda ratios - 32% diet coke, 27% diet mountain dew, 17% diet pepsi, 24% asst diet non-caffeine

[2] Regular soda ratios - 34% coke, 25% pepsi, 16% mountain dew, 12% sprite, 14% asst other non-caffeine