Proper Planning: The Best Way to Start Your Concession Business
Once you decide that you want to start a concession business, there are a myriad of decisions that need to be made. Sometimes the amount of work that needs to be done before the stand is even open can seem like a daunting task. Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to debuting a solidly planned concession stand or mobile cart.
Will a trailer work best for your business model?
Have a general statement of purpose.
Describe how your business will operate.
Figure out the logistics.
Research possible financial resources.
Permanent Concession Stand
By having a stand set in the same area holding regular hours, you are likely to develop regular customers that become loyal to you.
Because your stand will be set up and in the same place every day, you can set up routines and you will not have to deal with out-of-the-ordinary snags
Running a concession stand requires that you hold consistent hours every week. You must be willing to show up for these hours of operation come rain or shine
You are tied to your area whether it is busy or dead. If business drops off because the traffic disappears, there is very little you can do to get business to pick back up
You can set the hours that you want to have the stand open and leave them as such because your stand is not catering to a certain event
|Large Up-Front Investment
A stand requires investment in larger equipment such as a restaurant range, charbroiler or fryer, or all three.
|Ease of Operation
Once the stand is set up, there will be minimal difficult manual labor from day to day. The equipment is stationary and routines have been put in place.
Mobile Concession Cart/Trailer
Variety of customers that you will encounter at new venues will never end. You will always have a new customer to wow.
The events you plan on attending are subject to change just as much as your income. Income from mobile sales can be very inconsistent if events are not as successful as you planned.
|Part Time Business
Mobile vending does not require your attention seven days of the week. Instead, you can pick and choose which events and locations are most important to business
Pushing a cart or setting up a trailer takes a lot of elbow grease. If you have medical conditions that prevent you from strenuous activity, this is not an option for you unless you have help.
Go wherever you want, whenever you want. You are not tied down to a permanent spot and can decide for yourself where you want to sell today
|Higher Risk and Lower Control
If you are only working a few days a week, you are relying on each event to be a success. If it is not, you can be out a lot of money for the week
|Lower Initial Investment
There is a lot less money involved in starting a business using a mobile cart. If things go awry, you stand to lose a lot less.
Research Before You Start
Talking with fellow concession stand owners can provide a lot of insight.
Talk with peers
Talk with venue planners
Develop a Strategy for Operations
Plan your menu
Design your booth, trailer or cart
Ensure that you have the appropriate equipment or vehicle
Arrange for storage and transport
A commisary kitchen is a good way to prep food away from a concession stand.
Obtain the proper licensing and insurance
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Decide who your target customer is.
For example: if your target client is a business person out to grab lunch, you will want a menu that includes sandwiches and perhaps chips. Your price point must be competitive with surrounding restaurants so that your customer will choose you over a standard sit-down eatery. By the same token, if you decide that your target market is families that are out for a day at the fair, your menu will include more snacks and fun food like cotton candy and popcorn, and your prices can be higher because there is no competition for your audience.
The proper signage makes a concession stand eye-catching.
Price based on location.
Choose the proper signage.
Once you have everything organized, getting all of the pieces to come together will take a little work and a good deal of start-up cash, but being ready for all of the obstacles that you may come up against in the starting phase will help you in the long run.
More from Concession Education...
- 5 Critical Steps to Starting a Concession Stand
- Concession Rules, Regulations and Licenses
- How to Properly Market Your Concession Stand
- Selecting Profitable Events for Your Concession Stand
- Resources for Booking Venues for Your Concession Stand
- The Cost of Running a Concession Business
- Concession Fundraising on a Barely-There Budget
- Planning a Menu Fit for a Concession Stand
- Important Questions to Ask When Researching Food Concession Venues
- Cart or Trailer: Making the Right Decision for Your Mobile Business
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