Concession Stands

Concession stands are similar to concession carts, however, one of the main differences are that most concession stands are not as easily portable as carts they usually do not include wheels.

The main advantage of a concession stand is that they are the most affordable type of concession trailer and they are also very flexible in that they are capable of selling a variety of foods with very little modification.

For beginners, concession stands offer the cheapest way to get started in the concession business as they are usually a fraction of the cost of a complete mobile trailer. If you are low in starting capital, your best chance of owning a concession business is by first starting with a concession stand.

Food Concession Stands: An American icon

Concession stands are part of the American culture. They are a symbol of entrepreneurism and self-reliance. Concession stands offer important benefits to both their owners and customers. For owners, they offer an ability to sell a wide variety of food products from a quasi-stationary unit in a high traffic area, yet they have lower investment and overhead costs than a permanent storefront. For customers, they offer convenient access to relatively low-cost food and drink, when at events.

Concession stands are part of the scenery at sports stadiums, county fairs, concerts and other sporting or entertainment events. The sponsors of the events normally contract out the right to sell food to paying customers in attendance, and concession stands can be a very lucrative opportunity to make quick money during the course of each event. But, it can also be an intense whirlwind of fast-paced work around the clock to prepare and serve food to hungry customers.

Foods sold at concession stands include - hot dogs, French fries, ice cream, cotton candy, peanuts, corn on the cob, corn dogs, soda and juice, bottled water, candy, nachos, churros, bagels, pizza, popcorn and other regional favorites. There are also concession stands equipped to sell barbeque and fried foods. At some venues, the sponsors may have concession stands park in a “food court” formation and limit each concession stand to a certain type of food, or drink, so that customers can have a full range of competitive choices in one location.

The complexity and size of your concession stand trailer, will depend on your startup budget, but regardless of how much you can afford to spend on your trailer, here are some tips for operating your concession stand for maximum profit:

  • Offer a good variety of items and keep your prices fair. If you are at a particular location regularly, you want customers to keep coming back to you. Include sales tax in your prices and round off to the nearest 50 cents ($1.50, $2.00, $2.50), so that you avoid handling lots of extra change and pennies.

  • If you are at a location all the time, offer discount or two-for-one coupons to encourage customer loyalty.

  • Have custom T-shirts made up with your company name on it. Many people, who attend the types of events that allow concession stands, are part of the target market for T-shirt purchases.

  • Focus your menu on 'quick serve' foods. Unlike restaurant patrons, who are out for a leisurely dining experience, concession stand customers are usually in a hurry. They are coming to your concession stand during intermission, on their way to an event they are eager to watch, or with several children in tow. They want fast service, fair prices and convenient ways to carry their food.

  • For daytime events, have plenty of soda, sports drinks and bottled water in stock. For evening events, be sure to have hot chocolate and coffee.