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Restaurant Finds Sweet Addition with Candy and Caramel Apples

The Brass Lantern, Johnny Fleeman

Fair Food Gets New Life

When the local fair was canceled due to COVID-19, Johnny Fleeman was disappointed. He knew that would mean missing out on some of his favorite fair foods, like candy and caramel apples. Yet, the entrepreneur in him saw an opportunity. As a restaurant owner, he began to entertain the possibility of making and selling candy and caramel apples himself.

It Started with a Simple Search

Johnny started by doing an online search for caramel where he discovered Gold Medal’s website. Once there, he was excited to see all the concession food possibilities he could explore. He reached out and was connected to one of Gold Medal’s concession specialists. Soon, he had a caramel apple warmer and all the supplies he needed to get started making candy and caramel apples.

The Brass Lantern Wow Factor

What It Takes to Create a Wow Factor

The flagship location of his restaurants is The Brass Lantern, located in Johnny’s hometown of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. One of the restaurant’s key features is its dessert and milkshake station. There is a display that showcases the many mouthwatering treats that the restaurant makes, like pies and cakes. Johnny made room near the display for his candy and caramel apple supplies and got to work learning the art of apple dipping. Some days, he would even come in at 5:00 a.m. just to get practice perfecting his skills before the busyness of the day started.

Johnny stresses the importance of handmaking the apples where customers can watch. “We want to give customers a WOW factor,” he states. The candy and caramel apples are then packaged and often sold as either desserts or take-home items.

The Brass Lantern

A Vision for the Future

The candy and caramel apples have been well received by The Brass Lantern customers, which has opened Johnny to considering other opportunities. He also brought in prepackaged caramel corn as another way to offer fair foods to his customers. The next food he would like to investigate is funnel cakes. With the low costs to produce, it offers a higher profit margin than some of the more traditional desserts, which is appealing. Should his efforts prove successful, Johnny looks forward to expanding the same concept at his six other restaurant locations.

Overall, Johnny feels there is so much potential. He mentioned, “In the future, this could lead to adding other ‘fair grub’ to the lunch menu, like having chili with a corn dog.”

The public’s nostalgia and love for fair foods make this an opportune time to incorporate fun foods into any business. For ideas of what concession stand favorites may be a good fit for you, read our article, What Can I Sell in a Concession Stand?

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