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Our blog is your source for concession industry tips and tricks. Whether you’re looking for unique ideas for fundraising, want information on creating a successful sweet shop in your grocery store, or need new ways to promote your gourmet popcorn business, we have plenty of information to inspire you. You’ll find new menu recommendations, marketing ideas, seasonal suggestions, and more. Feel free to scroll through all of our posts or browse by category to find relevant information for you.


An Inside Look at the Sweet Shop Setup

A Blueprint for Building a Grocery Store Sweet Shop Setup

Customers want more out of the grocery in-store shopping experience. Imagine bringing their favorite snacks and treats to life! They’ll enjoy the sound and aroma of freshly popped popcorn, the nostalgia of watching as cotton candy is spun, and daydreaming about the taste of delicious, flavorful fudge. More than just a package on the shelf, engaging the senses through a Gold Medal sweet shop setup is a way to drive traffic, boost sales, and add a fun element to the business.

What goes into the sweet shop setup is completely customizable. We’ll review the most popular items, equipment recommendations, and benefits of each.



The main foundation of any sweet shop is popcorn. It is a classic snack loved by people of all ages. It’s easy to make, affordable, and has a high profit margin. Ready-to-eat popcorn is one of the most popular snacks. Making it fresh adds to the customer experience. Plus, it increases the store’s profit potential substantially over prepackaged alternatives. The cost per serving is under a dollar, giving great flexibility in pricing. For more sales opportunities, popcorn is the canvas for flavors of gourmet popcorn like caramel corn, cheese corn, kettle corn, and more.

Equipment recommendations for small to medium locations start with a 16-oz popper, like the Macho Pop Value 16-oz Popcorn Machine. This mid-sized popper comes equipped with Big Eye Electronic Heat Control that signals operator when popcorn is ready to load or dump. Larger operations can find kettle sizes ranging from 32 to 52-oz in the PopClean® Elite Popper® Series. The hallmark of the PopClean Elite Popper Series is that it eliminates the need for a vent hood system.

Gourmet Popcorn

Expanding on the popularity and profitability of popcorn, gourmet flavors are the next step. There are shake-on flavors, glazes, mixes, and cheese pastes that allow stores to make custom creations. Caramel corn and cheese corn are the most well-known. Savory flavors like bacon, dill, or ranch are found in the Signature Shakes® line. The sweeter varieties are Signature Blends® and come in flavors like strawberry, cinnamon, or blue raspberry.

In terms of equipment, a cooker mixer is a necessity for caramel corn and candy-glazed popcorn. Gold Medal offers 5-gallon, 10-gallon, and 20-gallon options depending on the size of the operation. A cooling table is also necessary. For cheese corn and shake-on flavors, a tumbler makes the work easy. Available in 2.5-gallon to 8-gallon sizes, it gently tumbles the flavors onto the corn. A Gold Medal professional can assist in determining what size is right for your location. (Browse Gourmet Popcorn Equipment now.)

Cotton Candy

Adding cotton candy brings another level of excitement to the sweet shop setup. All ages have an appreciation for the element of fun cotton candy has. Making it on-site is interactive for customers. It is great to enhance special occasions like birthday parties or fundraisers. Pink (vanilla) and blue (blue raspberry) are the most popular classics. Fun and colorful, customers will enjoy exploring different Flossugar flavors like green apple, birthday cake, and sour raspberry. Costing just cents to produce, operators can find profit margins as high as 90%+!

The most recommended cotton candy machine for grocery stores is the Auto Breeze® EZ Kleen Head. It is easy to operate with an automatic heat adjustment, cool-down, and shutoff. It comes with a 26-inch floss bowl. Stores can choose to package cotton candy in bags or plastic containers. There are several ways to display your finished product such as floss trees, counter trays, or a mobile display rack.

Candy and Caramel Apples

A seasonal favorite with year-round selling potential, candy and caramel apples are gourmet treats that customers enjoy. Like popcorn can be customized with flavors, apples can become desserts with toppings and a creative touch. Chocolate chips, nuts, marshmallows, and sprinkles can enhance a caramel apple. Candy apples can be made in a wide variety of flavors and colors from cherry and vanilla to blue and green using Signature Blends with Basic Appl-EZ Mix. Cost per serving is less than two dollars, meaning competitively priced caramel and candy apples can yield profit margins of 59% or more!

Recommended equipment for caramel apples includes the High-Output Twin Caramel Apple Dip Warmer. It will melt ready-to-use caramel in 1.5 to 2 hours. Many operators choose to dip out of one side while warming on the other. For candy apples, the Double-Batch Reddy Apple Cooker is recommended. This compact machine is a double-batch cooker with insert pot capable of producing large batches. Also recommended is the Stick Setter, which makes it easy to insert the sticks into the apples.


Satisfy customer cravings for something sweet and fulfilling with fudge! Sweet Selections® Fudge Mixes make producing fudge easier than ever. The original 1-STEP mix is unmatched in the industry. Simply combine butter, water, and only one bag of mix and you’re done. The Chocolate Fudge Mix and Vanilla Fudge Mix are classic customer favorites that deliver consistent batches every time. Plus, with the Base Fudge Mix, operators can create custom flavors. Ingredients for fudge are everywhere! For ideas, read 5 Ways to Flavor Fudge. Fudge has a high-perceived value and low production costs, allowing stores to earn gross profit margins as high as 80%.

The Sweet Selections Fudge Mixer is equipped with membrane controls, an improved temperature sensor with digital display, plus a convenient cleaning mode. Choose the setup that works best for your space. It can be mounted on a counter, base, or wheeled truck. Fudge can be packaged in fudge boxes or plastic containers.

Frosted Nuts

Ideal for snacking, frosted nuts are an excellent addition to any store. Fresh frosted nuts are made by coating nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, or pecans) in a sweet and crunchy glaze. Flavor possibilities include honey, cinnamon, and maple. Package them in snack sizes for a grab-and-go treat or go with sharable large bulk sizes for get-togethers and holidays. It is a year-round treat!

The Pralinator is a high-capacity machine, capable of turning out four pounds of frosted nuts in approximately 15 minutes, following the first batch. Frosted Nut Bags shaped like cones make an attractive presentation.


An illustration showing a sweet shop fun food setup layout with a popper, cotton candy machine, caramel cooker, caramel apple dipper, and Sweet Selections fudge cooker/mixer

A sweet shop setup is the perfect addition to other in-store amenities like bakery, deli, produce, and other fresh departments. The best part of the sweet shop setup is that it can be completely customized. Pick and choose from the products outlined. Or start with popcorn and then make plans to add additional items as you grow. Get connected with one of our concession specialists for a personal consultation and recommendations specific to your needs.

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