Jason Wotman admits the whole idea was born out of laziness. Tailgate parties are fun, but the transportation, set-up and clean-up are certainly no picnic. After one particular New York Jets game when Wotman and his friends’ grill was stolen and they were tired of bringing “back all this gross stuff covered in burger juice,” they developed the idea for Tailwaiters, a service that brings all the food and necessary equipment to tailgaters in the New York area, according to a story in AOL Small Business.
Clients range from a handful of friends taking the train to a game to businesses treating a few dozen guests to a pre-game meal to one memorable event where the Tailwaiters took care of 300 rabid “away” fans at a Chargers-Giants game.
Customers order their packages of food and equipment (tents, grills, chairs, coolers) online or via phone. The three founders and five on-call employees set up the party in the parking lot for the partiers. They clean up at game time, and even offer a chef for a fee. The company doesn’t provide alcohol, but Wotman says people seem to manage that part of the tailgate just fine.
Started for just $15,000 out of the partners’ pockets, Tailwaters made it through its first season last year with just word-of-mouth advertising and flyers placed on cars. As they’ve made more money, they’ve invested it into radio ads, public relations and branding efforts. They’ve also thrown tailgate parties for some Jets and Giants bloggers to spread the word on the internet. “Anyone who’s a big fan of the teams and goes to a lot of the games probably has heard something about us at this point,” says Wotman.