Feature Article - October 2009
Find a printable version here

Money Matters

Tips for Expanding Your Food Service & Concession Profits

By Emily Tipping



Specialize!

At the Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Mich., which the West Michigan Whitecaps call their home base, you can find a 4-pound, $20 burger with five beef patties, five slices of cheese, nearly a cup of chili and salsa and corn chips, loaded onto an 8-inch sesame seed bun. Yowza!

Concessionaires and manufacturers that offer concession equipment point out that when people are away at a game, they often want to indulge in fun foods that are, let's say, less healthy. You might also offer items with jaw-dropping fat and calorie counts, but if you want to please your patrons, you should be sure to include some healthier items as well. Many of your patrons are likely sensitive to this issue and will be happy to find healthy items on your menu.

Ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup have also been making headlines, and many people are conscious of this. The good news is that suppliers are responding, and you can find snow cone syrups, for example, made without HFCS. And you can also find items that are trans-fat-free. Offering these options can be a marketing tool in and of itself, as you can promote the fact that your stand is also health-conscious.

That doesn't mean your entire menu has to be healthy. But people will appreciate a choice.

Also, don't forget that some people have specific food sensitivities or allergies. If you don't have something for everyone, you'll reduce your profit potential.

Other issues to keep in mind:

  • Food allergies and sensitivities like peanut allergies, sensitivity to gluten and others
  • Cultural issues (you should consider kosher items, for example)
  • Dietary preferences (consider providing a vegetarian option)