Guide to Popcorn Concessions


Popped PopcornPopcorn merchandisers are designed to display popcorn attractively either in loose kernel form or in bags/boxes. Merchandisers for bagged or boxed popcorn have shelves designed to hold many containers of popcorn. This type of merchandiser makes sales quick and easy, but it is important to keep the machine filled; an empty merchandiser is not as attractive.

Types of Popcorn Displays

Drop-in Popcorn MerchandisersDrop-in Popcorn Merchandisers

Drop-in popcorn merchandisers are attached to large-capacity popcorn machines. These units are idea for businesses such as movie theaters that sell a lot of popcorn and need more storage space. They range from 30 to 48 inches in width, and only hold loose popcorn, not popcorn in bags.

Countertop Popcorn MerchandisersCountertop Popcorn Merchandisers

Countertop popcorn merchandisers, designed to sit atop your counter to make an attractive display, are the most popular type of merchandiser. The most important consideration is width, as you will need to ensure that they fit in your available space. These machines range from 12 to 36 inches in width.

Floor Model Popcorn MerchandisersFloor Model Popcorn Merchandisers

These units are for operations that sell a high-volume of individually boxed popcorn. They stand up to 42 inches high and 13 inches wide, and are also heated in order to keep popcorn warm and fresh for long periods of time. They require an electric outlet.


Other Things To Consider:

If you are looking to add a popcorn popper to your concessions operation, consider purchasing a colorful and eye-catching popcorn pedestal or cart.Popcorn Cart

You can place your popcorn machine on top of these bright, decorative pieces in order to further attract attention to your business.

Types of Popcorn Poppers

Popcorn Poppers
Popcorn poppers are bright and attractive pieces of equipment, certain to draw customers to any concession stand. These machines are known for giving off the irresistible aroma of buttery, fresh popcorn which makes it a sure sell. When selecting a popcorn popper there are a few key components that you should understand before making your purchase.

Power Source


All popcorn popping machines feature kettles, into which the unpopped kernels and oil mixture is poured. These kettles are made from stainless steel and are lined with a non-stick coating, making them safe and easy to clean. The kettle swings low to distribute the popped kernels into the holding cabinet.

Popcorn Capacity

Holding Cabinets

Popcorn machine holding cabinets feature heated stainless steel to keep popcorn warm and fresh before it is served.

What to look for when buying a popper


Popcorn machines vary by kettle capacity, ranging from 5 to 100 ounces of unpopped kernels. For most concessions operations, 6 to 8 ounce kettles are the most popular. For most movie theater operations a kettle capacity between 32 and 52 ounces is sufficient, only very large operations require a kettle that holds more than 52 ounces. The kettle capacity also directly corresponds to the number of servings the machine will produce in an hour. Most popcorn machines have a three minute popping cycle, so a machine with a 6-ounce kettle can produce 120 one-ounce servings in an hour.

Power Source

One other factor to consider when purchasing a popcorn popper is the power source. These machines run on either electricity or gas. Many concessions businesses will not be able to purchase an electric machine as this requires consistent access to an outlet, which might not be possible.


There are some essential popcorn accessories needed in order to run a fully-functional popcorn operation:

Popcorn Packages

Popcorn Packages

These packages contain kernels as well as the oil needed to load your popcorn popping machine. They come in different sizes that correspond to the size of your kettle, so that you don’t have to waste time measuring: just open up the package and pour it in.

Popcorn Scoops


It might seem like any old scoop will do, but popcorn scoops are designed to quickly and efficiently scoop popcorn into narrow merchandise bags. These scoops are essential for ensuring customers are able to move quickly through the line.

Popcorn Seasonings


This category includes traditional butter flavor, but popcorn can also come in many other delicious manifestations such as jalapeno, ranch or honey mustard. There are also sweeter popcorn glazes with caramel being the most popular but others such as grape and chocolate that are popular among younger customers.

Popcorn Containers


No matter what type of popcorn operation you run, customers will need bags, boxes or tubs to carry their purchases away from your stand. Popcorn containers come in a range of sizes, from small 3/4 ounce boxes to large, sharing-sized 130-ounce tubs.

Popcorn Machine Cleaning Kits

Popcorn Machine Cleaning Kits

Keeping your popcorn machine clean is essential both for sanitation and taste. These cleaning kits make it simple and include chemical cleaner, steel wool, scrapers, rubber gloves, sponges and instructions.


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Sara Henderson

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