Gold Medal Products Co.
Success Stories
A V.P.'s 7 Proven Steps to Increased Concession SalesA V.P.'s 7 Proven Steps to Increased Concession Sales - Click to read more

Drive up revenues and create the ultimate destination feeling with must-have, unique items. While candy will always be dandy and popcorn pairs perfectly with movies, your key to blockbuster sales lies with "exclusive" items that are also the perfect answer to the growing popularity of large-size candy boxes at mass retailers.

For Kenyon Shane, V.P. Of Operations-Revenue Development of Celebration Cinemas' 11 locations and 135 screens, sweet and savory popcorn seemed like the natural extension of the ever-popular popcorn. It's also increased their bottom line similar to adding a traditional popular candy. He shares some of his marketing and sales tips for success below. His top sellers are cheese, caramel (including some with a chocolate coating), candied and Chicago-style corn (a mix of cheese and caramel corn).

  • The flavored corns are easy to make ahead of time with only 1 staff member, and the machines can be stored out of the main area, if necessary. Just leave doors open to release tempting aromas.
  • Generate excitement and a "must-have" moment by tying flavors into limited time only themes with movies, holidays, or events (e.g. black cherry corn for The Dark Knight).
  • The product sells itself. Be sure to have photos along with prices. Also, try cooking some fresh during busy times, as the smell makes mouths water and opens wallets.
  • Drive traffic with coupons, promotions on social media sites, ads, etc.
  • Increase impulse buys with sampling, and stack pre-filled containers in the same line of sight.
  • Take-home containers lock-in freshness, so you can make the corn ahead of time, and increase sales. Plus, they make it easier to share during the show and with families at home.
  • Reinforce your theatre's branding with simple logos on the containers. These can be made from stickers you apply to purchased containers, or work with a local manufacturer to print right on the containers.

Try these proven strategies at your location and watch your concession sales soar. Gold Medal® has countless machines, containers, mixes and supplies for any size need. Plus, we have branches and dealers located around the country to offer customized, prompt service. We are your profit partner! Contact us today at 800-543-0862 or info@gmpopcorn.com. You can also find a wealth of profit-packed information at www.gmpopcorn.com.


Concessions for the Economy - Click to read more

Tool Time Rentals in Charlotte, N.C., has found a secret to weathering and succeeding during the economic downturn in the bottom of a popcorn bucket. It began three years ago with a few tables, chairs and concession machines and now Southern Party & Events (SPE) is helping to carry the company.

Jim Torrence, manager and owner of Tool Time, is extremely grateful to have expanded when he did. "In these hard economic times, it is what has kept me in business. If I still relied only on tool and construction rentals like in the past, my business would have been in trouble and in danger of closing," he says.

"Times are tough, but mom and dad are not letting kids see the economy," Laura Helms, SPE's manager, says. "They may not be doing long-distance vacations or family entertainment centers, but they are having backyard parties and family reunions. They know they can have a lot of fun and do it cheaper at home."

Concessions for the Economy

That's why Tool Time celebrates each day with a party and their store is dressed to match. In addition to showcasing the standard tool rentals, brightly colored balloons sway in the breeze over a cotton candy machine on a simply designed table setting. The display creates a positive, festive atmosphere the moment a customer walks through the door.

Over the years, SPE has handled scores of birthday parties and lists at least 15 schools among its clients, as well as other rental companies who buy concession supplies. The business has been built with very little advertising and has benefitted more from word-of-mouth referrals and sponsorship of local Little Leagues.

"Sometimes we'll donate the machine, if they buy the supplies," Helms says. "A $50 Sno-Kone® machine rental is worth the $300 or $400 in supply sales, especially with schools that come back every year."

Carrying the concession machines also has created an upsell opportunity to meet a customer's needs. Torrence says customers might come in for an inflatable and then leave with a popcorn machine, possibly tables and chairs, and notice a tool they may need for a later job. Customers, he says, also have a tendency to spend more money on party supplies.

"They'll haggle over the price of an aerator, but they won't haggle over little Johnny's party," Helms says.

While SPE carries a large stock of concession supplies, Torrence and Helms say it isn't necessary to buy a lot of machines to get started in this end of the party and event business. The company began with the "big three" – a popcorn, Sno-Kone® and cotton candy machine. Since then, SPE has sold 14 pieces, rents six machines and plans on buying more to keep up with demand.

"The key is to start out with all-time favorite machines to enhance the rental sales and carry all the necessary supplies," says H. Steve Taylor, a concession expert for Gold Medal® Products, Cincinnati. "You want durable, user-friendly machines and for your customers to walk out with everything they need in one trip."

He also recommends offering samples of popcorn on the busiest volume days. "The servings cost only a matter of cents, but the smell encourages people to buy and helps customers feel comfortable," he says.

"It's been fun and we've learned a lot. We're happy we're doing great now, and are trying to be smart and get through," Helms says. "I can't wait to see what happens when we are in good times."

Concessions for the Economy, by Bethe Ferguson, originally appeared appeared in Rental Management Magazine. This is the official magazine of the American Rental Association and can be found at www.rentalmanagementmag.com.

 

Charlie Cox of Cox ConcessionsIce Cream Dreams & Concession Wishes - Click to read more

Charlie Cox started in 1957 with one ice cream truck and a work ethic instilled by his farmer father. Now, Concessions by Cox have had concession stands on the White House lawn, the World Youth Day hosted by the Pope, two Super Bowls and the Olympics.

Charlie made his destiny through perseverance and adaption. When the recession hit in the '60s, Cox turned his near bankrupt business of manufacturing concession vehicles toward concession food sales. Just like now, he saw concession stands do well when times got tough. He realized he could make more money directly selling the foods than financing other concession customers.

Charlie has continued to prosper by seizing opportunities and following the motto of "first one there and the last to leave." His first big break came 31 years ago at the Columbus Zoo. He was visiting and saw the director, Jack Hanna, selling lemonade with his daughter. Charlie saw an opening and boldly gave him his card. Others recognized his family's commitment and invited him to expand into other locations like the Dayton Air Show - one of the country's premier aviation events - and NASCAR races.

He went from washing dishes and breaking down tents to managing more than 400 special events annually - equaling over 30 million people. Charlie continued to prosper by expanding into services like full-service catering, concession and special event food services, mobile concession trailer sales, and special event production.

While it was equally hard work on the farm, concession sales have created a different type of security for his family. His dad was only able to take one vacation his entire life, and now Charlie has built a multi-million dollar business from his very modest start.


From Monkey Wrench to Monkey Island - Click to read more

Greg the plumber secured his future by throwing caution to the wind. He traded in his tool belt for an owner's manual on the indoor playground business. And a vital part of creating the right, profitable environment was a great concession stand.

It's this secret to success that came to him one sleepless night. Greg Kukuczka knew children's areas do better than most in a recession. Almost two years later, he has the largest indoor playground in Chicago (40,000 square-feet of pure fun), is opening a second location and is looking to franchise across America.

Greg has built his fortune on crowds and returning guests. He knew he needed to not only feed his customers while they played for hours, but tempt them to splurge on the treats. He started small and without any knowledge of how to build a concession menu. Greg partnered with Gold Medal, learning what would make the most profits for his location and how to serve it fast.

From Monkey Wrench to Monkey Island

He began with the basics: hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, popcorn, and nachos. The Gold Medal representative continued to help him add on as his concession business grew, offering advice on the latest trends and products that would create a buzz. For example, Greg added on other money-makers like pre-packaged caramel corn, funnel cakes, churros and more. Now, two or three employees can quickly serve quality food to the hungry masses. The concession stand is also strategically placed to get the best visual impact.

But more than creating a thriving concession stand, Gold Medal helped make Greg's American dream come true through hard work and ingenuity. He now recommends others to follow their hearts, make their own future, and partner with Gold Medal for winning, profitable advice.


 
Family, Funds and FUNnel CakesFamily, Funds and FUNnel Cakes - Click to read more

Their business began 20 years ago with breakneck crowds, and the help of a 75-year-old woman and two teenagers. Now, Paul and Jan Steimle have turned Family Fun Foods into a multi-generation FUNnel cake extravaganza.

Jan glowingly remembers when her husband had the "hair brain" idea to sell funnel cakes at a local pumpkin festival. They used the contact they had through their produce and flower business, and rented two fryers and the supplies from a local parish. Little did they know that they would have lines a quarter of a mile long, and their son would be stuffing gobs of money in his pockets just to keep up with the rush. Paul's mom poured funnel cakes all day, while Paul kept cleaning out the local grocery store of supplies.

Back then, they didn't have a lot of money and ran their business out of the back of a Toyota truck. They took any job they could and grew their business through referrals and being a trusted vendor.

Now, they have a very profitable business and not much overhead. They rent booth space at local festivals, and keep things simple with six fryers, supplies and the help of a great family. They have fun, work weekends, and advertise with handmade signs. Paul and Jan are slowly limiting the number of shows they work and their son, Joe, has added funnel cakes to his roasted corn business.

The Steimles feel fortunate to have stumbled upon a business that allows them to make good money doing something they really enjoy with their family. They also admit that not much has changed in the past 20 years. Funnel cakes, and Fun Foods in general, are easy to get into without much of an investment and will always draw big crowds. They cheerfully say they'll continue selling as long as they have fun and make good money-which, according to Jan, could be forever.