How to Choose the Right Concession Foods for Your Snack Bar
What to Consider When Choosing Concession Foods to Sell
If you operate a concession foods business at a public park or pool, you have the particular challenge of understanding who your customers are and offering them the foods they want at your venue. There are several things food stand management should take into consideration when menu planning to maximize profits as well as customer satisfaction.
Who will be running the equipment?
If your stand is run primarily by volunteers or by inexperienced employees, keep this in mind when deciding what types of food to serve. Will the machines be easy to operate? Will safety be a concern? For example, fryers may not be the best choice for these types of situations – instead lean toward less complicated equipment like popcorn machines and warmers.
How much space and electrical capacity do you have?
All the variety in the world won’t help you if you don’t have room for your staff to move or you experience a power shortage. Most hot dog grills and small to medium popcorn machines use standard 120 volts, but meet with your building manager as well any local inspectors to ensure your space has the ability to handle each piece of equipment you’re considering. Don’t forget to think about the amount of power being used if all the machines are running at the same time.
Who are your customers?
Regardless of what you personally want to sell, you’ll need to meet people where they are. What types of people visit your location, and for what purpose? For families at pools or playgrounds, you may want to provide more traditional concession foods like nachos, cotton candy, and caramel corn. If your stand is at the entrance to a nature park, however, your clientele may differ, and you’ll want to include options like trail mix and fruits. Hot dogs and burgers also go over well in parks for visitors looking for picnic foods.
What are your hours and peak busy times?
If your stand has limited hours such as weekends only, consider what foods will keep well and what will spoil. Don’t use bagged nacho cheese, for instance, if you run the risk of opening a bag on Sunday and not using it again until Friday. In this case, individually packaged items like Portion Pak Cheese work best. Additionally, plan ahead for rush times. Pop and package popcorn ahead of busy times so that customers are not left waiting for their orders.
No matter which menu items you choose to sell, plan to review inventory and sales regularly to determine which items are over- or under-performing. Revise your ordering and selection based on which products sell well and which drive the most revenue for your concession stand.