Feature Article - October 2009
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Money Matters

Tips for Expanding Your Food Service & Concession Profits

By Emily Tipping

Tip #4: Make Things Easier on Yourself

If your food-service facility hosts events that require tear-down and setup, you'll want to ease that process as much as possible.

For example, if you're setting up tables for a sit-down event, how much time does it take? What if you could speed up that process? Do you currently use coverings? Good news! You can find hard-wearing tables that need no covering to look beautiful. No linens means easier setup, and quicker cleaning on the back end.

Also look for tables that are lightweight. Not only can you find beautiful finishes, it also will take fewer staff members to set up the tables and tear them down after the event. What's more, they won't take as much storage space.

Look for tables with built-in protection to prevent the tables from damaging one another when you stack them.

If you want to have a more "finished" look, consider skirts that fit your tables. Spandex skirts can be found to complement the beautiful tops of aluminum tables, putting a finishing touch on your event.

Tip #5: Let Someone Else Do It

Managing a concession stand or food-service operation can be a full-time job in and of itself. If you're not up to the task, why not let someone else take care of the hassles?

You can partner with a franchise or branded quick-service concept to offer options that your patrons will recognize. Many of these companies offer foods that are recognized as healthier options.

Make sure you go with a trusted brand. Talk to the representatives from that brand, and ask for referrals to others in similar situations to yours.

What are the benefits of this approach? There are many, but the basics include name and product recognition, an existing customer base and loyalty, existing menus, recipes, operational systems, suppliers and advertising programs. You don't have to start from scratch. When you go with an existing branded concept, you benefit because all of the first steps have already been taken and the systems to operate effectively are already in place.

Depending on the size of your facility, you'll want to find a brand with minimal space and equipment requirements. Something that can be reconfigured to fit just about any space is important. A complex kitchen is not what you need.

You also have the option of either running the facility with the staff you have on hand, or you can lease space to an established local franchisee who will handle the business details. Then you'll just be the landlord and won't have to worry about all the specifics.