5 Critical Questions to Ask When Starting a Concessions Stand

concessions stand-popcorn-cotton-candy

So, you want to get into foodservice, but a brick-and-mortar restaurant doesn’t seem like your style. Concessions stands have the flexibility that a brick-and-mortar joint doesn’t. However, even though concessions are one piece of the pie that makes up the whole foodservice industry, the decision to open a concessions stand is still a business decision. If you’re considering opening up a concessions business, make sure you’ve answered these five questions first.

Is a Concessions Stand Right for You?


Maybe you want to earn some extra money for retirement. Perhaps you want to do something more exciting than what you’ve been doing. Maybe you just really enjoy cotton candy. Whatever your reason is, it should be something that you can come back to. Though a concessions stand or food truck is smaller than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, it is still a business that requires a lot of hard work. Make sure your reason for starting a concessions business is strong enough to keep you going on the difficult days.

Type of Food?

This can be a loaded question because when you are creating a menu, you aren’t just thinking, “Oh, I’m going to serve pretzels.” You have to think about whether your product will be made ahead of time or fresh. There are pros and cons to both.

Additionally, will you serve “traditional” concessions like cotton candy, hot dogs, and soft-serve ice cream? Or will you go the more gourmet route of a custom-designed menu? Before you jump into the concessions business, have a good idea of the type of food you want to serve and how you are going to serve it.

Mobile or Stand?

A concessions business can be a standalone cart located in the same place, or it can be mobile. For example, a food truck is a form of concessions, just like a cart that only parks in front of retail space to serve food to that company’s customers.

If you want to park your concessions cart at farmers’ markets, outdoor events, breweries, and other public events, then you’ll need to adjust the type of equipment you purchase to suit your cart. If you are only serving in one location, you can incorporate more permanent aspects into your stand’s design.


Think about the location of your concessions business. Will you set up shop in an area with a lot of foot traffic that will get you noticed? Think about the type of customers you want to attract and where the best place to attract them is. Though a busy outdoor mall might be a great place location-wise, it may be more expensive to set up there.


Like we’ve said before, though concessions is not a brick-and-mortar business, it is still a business. Yes, your overhead may be less than that of a restaurant, but you still have to think about purchasing equipment and food product. Plus, if you plan on hiring a couple of people to work with you, you have to think about wages.

Be sure you know where your start-up money is coming from and that you have enough to get you on your feet.

One More Thing

In the foodservice industry, a person needs to have a passion for food. Before you decide to dive into the big world of foodservice, make sure your passion is in the right place. If it is, and you know the answers to these five critical questions, then what are you waiting for? Get all of your concessions stand equipment together and prepare for an incredible business journey.

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