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Concession Business Idea

Why learn how to start a concession business? If you have been looking for a way to become part of the billion dollar a year food sales industry, a concession business is the ideal solution. Concessions are everywhere, from sporting events to carnivals.

There are mobile operations and fixed location concessions. Easier to start and less expensive to set up than a restaurant, a concession business may be the right small business opportunity for you.

Loosely based on the open market concept of ancient times, a concession business serves food to those attending events or celebrations, working people, or shoppers. Typical offerings include popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers, beverages, french fries, cotton candy, pretzels, and just about anything that can be eaten while walking.

How to Start a Concession Business

There are several ways to run a concession business. Your choice will be determined by how much start-up capital you have, the location you choose, and your business preferences and goals. In order to be successful, research the best areas to run a concession business.

It is vital to find a location that is not currently served by other food vendors. A thriving concession stand will be where there is no competition and a high concentration of people with no other means of purchasing food and drinks.

The most popular types of concession businesses include:

  • Concession Cart: A concession cart is a small, wheeled cart that is mobile, allowing you to move with your customers. The small size will likely limit the number of products you offer. Inclement weather will greatly affect daily business.
  • Concession Truck or Trailer: Another mobile option, the truck or trailer allows you to offer a wider variety of food items. Weather will play a smaller role in day to day business, especially if you provide a canopy to keep customers dry.
  • Fixed Location Concession: Operating at a fixed location in a theater, sports complex, shopping area, or other location, allows more restaurant-like operations, such as adding tables along with a wider variety of types of foods. The fixed location option is dependent on the venue’s hours of operation and policies regarding vendor partnerships.

After choosing a cart, truck, or fixed operation, contact the local health department to obtain food handling permits. Call the city, state, and county boards to ask how to obtain your business license. Equipment and supplies can be purchased from mobile vending and concession equipment distributors.

Finding Success With Your Concession Business

Laying the right groundwork as you learn how to start a concession business will help put you on the road to success. People buy food from concession stands because it is quick and convenient. As with any food service business, satisfied customers are your best advertising. Make it easy for customers to find you, make the process from ordering to presenting the food quick, and serve with a smile.

There is nothing as appealing as getting something for free. Giving free food samples away is a great way to bring people to your concession stand and try what you offer.

Use a variety of advertising to get the word out about your concession stand. Print your business name on the napkins and food containers you supply with customer orders. Have a sign made up with your business name that is easily viewed from a distance.

Taking Your Concession Business To The Next Level

As you move beyond merely learning how to start a concession business to engaging in a successful operation, you may find yourself thinking about ways to expand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add additional concession trucks, carts, or fixed locations in different areas
  • Add food options – perhaps gourmet foods or vegetarian selections
  • Contact sports and convention complex administrators to inquire about setting up in those locations
  • Set up a food delivery service for office and industrial parks

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