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4 Secrets to Making Money with Concession Drinks

How to Generate More Profits with a Concession Drink Stand

When starting out in the concession business, most people think of popcorn, funnel cakes, and cotton candy, which are all great sources of profits. However, one often overlooked aspect of fun foods is concession drinks! Especially during the warmer months, beverages can be top money-makers at sporting events, fairs, and tourist attractions.

Besides the standard fare of soda and beer, think about adding high-profit items like slushies, smoothies, Lemon Shake-Ups, and specialty flavored sodas.

Here are some of our secrets to increasing your drink sales.

1. There’s something for everyone with fruit smoothies and slush. With a Frusheez® commerical slush machine, you can make endless varieties of delicious frozen drinks your customers won’t tire of. From fruit flavors to sweet tea, to margarita and daiquiri flavors, slushies are tasty and refreshing. For those of age, you can create alcoholic slushies for an upcharge, and for kids and the young at heart, if you have a twin or triple-bowl machine, experiment with mixing and layering flavors. You can also make delicious smoothies using Smoothie 'O® mix and fresh fruit.

2. When life hands you lemons, get a Lemonator. Lemon Shake-Ups are always a favorite, and they’re so easy to make! All you need are lemons, water, ice, and a neutral slush base to make a tasty treat with a low food cost and high profit potential.

3. Let customers customize with specialty flavored sodas. Give customers control by allowing them to add a hint of strawberry, cherry, or other flavor to their soda. The simplest way is to add a dash of Sno-Kone® syrup to the bottom of the cup, then add the beverage, which will mix the products without losing the carbonation. You can even disconnect one syrup line of your fountain drink system and use the carbonated beverage and the Sno-Kone® syrup to create a variety of flavors. (Be sure to check your manufacturer’s manual before making any disconnections.)

4. Serve it up in a souvenir cup. Whatever the beverage you’re selling at your drink stand, always offer souvenir cups as an option. They are the answer to repeat sales: since people have already paid the higher cost upfront, they’ll come back to your stand for a refill. The cups are more durable, which is especially appealing to customers with kids, and people often take them home as a reminder of their fun day out.

When deciding on pricing for your beverage sales, know your own costs and set prices accordingly. You’ll need to find a balance between being affordable and fair to your customers and making a profit for your business. 

Consider your venue to decide how much you can reasonably sell an item for – large arenas with high admission prices will allow for higher concession prices than a smaller venue such as a county fair or festival.

Finally, encourage higher-value sales by making it a deal to purchase a larger size. If it’s only a dollar or two more to buy a size up, customers are more likely to choose the large option.

Any of these tasty beverages can function on their own as a drink stand or as an addition to an existing concession stand. If you’re at a relatively stationary spot, you could even survey your customers to find out which new products they’d like best.

Looking for more concession stand ideas and tips? Check out Gold Medal’s Concession Insights.

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