Feature Article - October 2009
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Money Matters

Tips for Expanding Your Food Service & Concession Profits

By Emily Tipping

Tip #2: Now Expand Your Stand!

Once you've got your concession running, and the customers are pouring in to pick up popcorn and drinks, you'll want to keep them coming back. It's fairly simple to expand their options without expanding the space you need to prepare and store items.

Do you already offer popcorn? It's not too much of an addition in inventory, machinery and space to add cheese or caramel flavorings. Poof! You've expanded your menu, without expanding your effort.

You can buy prepackaged caramel corn, or you can purchase a machine that will allow you to produce it on site. (Bonus: The odor of fresh caramel corn will draw people in!) And caramel corn, according to one manufacturer, has an average of 72 percent to 82 percent profits.

If you don't want to add machinery or that much inventory, you can make it even simpler by adding shakers with creative seasonings to allow customers to boost their flavor potential. Gourmet options like barbecue flavoring, parmesan cheese and garlic, cinnamon and sugar, or even more exotic curry or chipotle flavors might attract more people.

Want to expand your snow cone and drinks flavors? Try a sour additive. Pairing your snow cone syrups with a sour flavor doubles your customers' options without doubling the inventory you have to store. It can be used in your snow cones, or add it to frozen smoothies and lemonade for an extra kick.

You can also expand by offering more healthy options. How about a bowl of fruits like apples and bananas? And with the simple addition of a blender, you can start making smoothies. These options will please your health-conscious patrons.

When you do add new items, be sure to promote them! People who've never visited your stand before because they don't want the traditional offerings might not ever know that you're now offering something they want if you don't advertise that fact.