Is It Time to Limit Your Concession Stand Menu Choices?
Too Much on Your Menu? Limiting Concession Food Choices
If your concession profits are not what you hoped, one of the first places you should troubleshoot is your food selection. You may think the bigger your concession stand food list, the better, but the opposite is actually true in many cases. Limiting consumer choices can benefit your bottom line and help you raise more money.
Concession Food You Absolutely Should Be Selling
If you’re operating a traditional snack stand, there are three tried-and-true most profitable concession food items that must be on your menu:
They are go-to snacks that have extremely low food costs that offer high profit margins. Not only that, but the equipment required for each of these crowd favorites is easy to operate. To broaden customer selections, you can create multiple combo deals using just these foods.
There are also prepackaged options that make preparing and serving this trio even simpler. Consider prepackaged chips and Portion Pak cheese for nachos, self-serve hot dog condiments, and corn/oil/salt kits for quick and convenient popcorn popping.
A Large Concession Stand Menu Can Mean Smaller Profits
Adding items to your menu is not inherently negative, but when your menu expands too much, it can have adverse effects, including:
- Decision fatigue. When faced with too many choices, customers often take longer to make up their minds. This leads to a backup of your line and could result in lost sales as people near the end of the line give up on making a purchase at all.
- Slower food prep. Having more menu items can mean increased wait times. If you add funnel cakes, burgers, or other made-to-order items, your customers must wait for them to be cooked. While this works great when properly planned, you need to know your crowd. You don’t want a more labor-intensive order to cost you an easy sale of popcorn, for example.
- Increased food waste. Unless they’re prepackaged, haphazardly added menu items frequently result in more waste. If you bake a whole pizza, but only sell a slice or two, your profits will suffer.
How to Add New Concession Food to Your Menu
This doesn’t mean you can only sell popcorn, nachos, and hot dogs forever! Just be strategic as you make additions to your snack bar and keep a pulse on performance and customer satisfaction. Use these tips as a guide for testing out a new food.
- Promote it! This is one of the most important things you can do as a concession stand operator. If people don’t know a food is available, they will not order it. Put up colorful posters to draw attention to the new food item, and create specials around it to add to demand.
- Pair it with an old favorite. People love combo deals, and they’re more likely to try something new if it also comes with something they already enjoy.
- Emphasize “limited time.” Customers will want to try a novelty food more if it isn’t here to stay. If it becomes a best seller and you decide to make it permanent, all the better: then you can truthfully advertise that it’s due to popular demand.
- Start with prepackaged items. When you first begin to expand your menu, try out items with a longer shelf life. Prepackaged caramel corn, Candee Fluff®, and Meister Bake® pretzels allow you to gauge customer interest in something new without generating much waste.
By rolling out new products carefully and paying close attention to how much and how quickly they sell, you can successfully build out your menu without overdoing it.
When you have a good grasp on the foods your customers want and your menu reflects that, you’ll start seeing the results in the form of higher profits. For help determining what types of concession equipment and food supplies might be best for your snack stand, schedule a personal consultation with a specialist today.